Objections pour in after Aberdour school owners lodge housing plans

© DC Thomson
Hillside School

Hillside School in Aberdour has lodged plans for a 125 new homes on a prominent swathe of land in the village.

The proposal has already drawn more than 100 objections, with local residents raising concerns about the scale of the development, impact on wildlife and the fact it would be contrary to the draft local development plan.

Some residents have said landscape and wildlife would be “decimated”.

Aberdour Community Council will discuss the proposal when it meets on Thursday, at 7.30pm in the Institute.

Currently housed in a 200-year-old building, with extensions built around the 1960s, the school for boys with behavioural problems is in need of modernisation.

Hillside director Anne Harvey hopes the development would fund a new school on land north west of where the existing buildings stand.

The area which currently accommodates the school is a brownfield “housing opportunity” site with an estimated capacity of 70 houses.

Resident John Burrell, who has objected to the development, said building houses at Hillside was “a fallback option inserted by Fife Council in the local plan to find a use for a brownfield site should the existing commercial operation no longer be viable.”

He added: “The size of the development is totally inappropriate for a village like Aberdour. It would increase the village area by at least a third and the total area including school, if built, would double the size of the village.”

In a submission to Fife Council, another objector said: “Safety from a transport point of view will be even further compromised.

“The village is also suffering from congestion problems already so a possible increase of 250 vehicles would be devastating.”

In another objection, a resident said the Salesian Fathers of St John Bosco, who set up a boys’ school at the site in 1960, would not have approved of the development.

“They deliberately designated the school and its large grounds of fields and trees for the use forever for the care and rehabilitation of young wayward and vulnerable boys,” she said.

Concerns were also raised about drainage and impact on local amenities, including the primary school.

Felsham Planning and Development, who are acting on behalf of Hillside School, said the proposal would result in a “more robust, less dense and sustainably designed development, instead of piecemeal development.”

The planning firm argued that the remainder of the site could be developed in the future and that Dunfermline and west Fife had the largest housing shortfall in the region.