Plans to redevelop the fire damaged former Viewforth High School site in Kirkcaldy have been given the go-ahead by Fife Council.
A proposal submitted by housing developer, Whiteburn Ltd, to build 73 new homes at the troubled site, which has lain vacant since pupils were transferred to nearby Windmill Campus in 2016, has been given unanimous approval by councillors.
The development is set to provide a mixture of terraced, semi-detached and detached houses, and flats, including 15 affordable homes
Access to the site will be via new entrance in Loughborough Road.
Original plans for 86 homes on the site, which were submitted before the fire in December 2019, had intended to transform the main school building into 14 flats.
However the proposal was revised after the C-listed main school building, which dates back to 1870, suffered extensive damage in the blaze in August 2020 and subsequently de-listed by Historic Environment Scotland.
As part of its design, the developer also stated it intends to retain as much of the stone from the original school building to be used in boundary walling and that the site will also benefit from open space provision, new landscaping and the planting of replacement trees lost during construction.
It has also agreed to a legal arrangement to fund £64,408 towards the provision of a new school extension to Sinclairtown Primary School due to be impacted by the new homes.
Planning officer, Natasha Cockburn told the committee: “We see this as a good quality design for the site with appropriate density of housing.
“The proposed also development represents the development of a brownfield, derelict site which is no longer being used for education purposes, within the settlement boundary of Kirkcaldy.”
The proposals had been met with some resistance from locals with 14 objections voicing concerns over design, impact on the road network, lack of parking and opposition to demolition of buildings on the site.
Despite the objections, planning officers had recommended that the application be given conditional approval when members of the council’s Central and West Fife planning committee met to Wednesday.
Kirkcaldy Councillor, Zoe Hisbent, welcomed the new plans saying it was “great news” for the site.
Roger Bainbridge, director of design and delivery for Whitburn Ltd, added: “Our timescales for this project have been impacted by the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, but we are delighted to have finally presented our proposals to the planning committee at Fife Council and for them to have granted planning consent.
“Importantly, it is hoped that some of the former C-listed school building, can still form part of our vision for the development.
“We will work with Fife Council to submit a planning application for new homes in this area of the development as part of our masterplan for the overall regeneration of the site.”
Work on the site is expected to start in the coming months.