Councillors have raised concerns about the potential costs associated with two new roads to be built in Dunfermline.
Fife Council has authorised potential compulsory purchase orders (CPOs) for land and properties along the routes of the new Northern Link Road, serving new homes in Wellwood and north Dunfermline, and the Western Distributor Road, which would serve the Broomhall site.
When the CPOs were discussed by the assets, property and facilities committee, Conservative councillor Kathleen Leslie raised the issue of costs the council would have to cover if developers failed to fulfil planning obligations.
This was echoed by Labour councillor Alex Campbell, who said: “There would appear to be quite a lot of exposure to the council.”
Keith Winter, executive director of enterprise and environment, said it was anticipated a “cash flow” would be built up with the receipt of developers’ contributions and there was funding available from the council’s capital programme through the Edinburgh and South East Scotland City Deal.
“In the capital programme there is money provided for the development of this facility,” he said.
“It is about risk, but we have that on quite a lot of sites and we’re used to dealing with that.
“That’s not to remove the fact that at some point we could be left with, as Councillor Leslie is hinting at, a possibility that we might have to put some additional money in to complete something.”
The housebuilding programme planned for Dunfermline is one of the largest in Scotland, with up to 8,000 new homes, five new primary schools and land for employment use planned.
Councillors were assured by council officers developers would be required to complete roadworks under planning obligations.
Mark Barrett, lead officer for transportation development management, said: “If they don’t build these sections of roads, they don’t build any houses, so they have to build them.
“Each consent has conditions specifying when they have to deliver each specific stretch of the road in order for them to facilitate the next stage of development.”
Senior manager Craig Walker said: “Negotiations have already commenced with some landowners to secure access to land and property required. It is hoped that these will conclude positively.
“However, there is always the risk that an agreement can’t be reached for the purchase of all stretches of the road.
“In this event it will become necessary to compulsory purchase certain areas of the land and property.
“Due to the timescales involved in compulsory purchase and the current level of development interest in Dunfermline it is considered prudent, to mitigate the risk of negotiations not being successfully concluded, to start preparatory work for the potential CPOs now so if a CPO is required for any section of the roads it does not create a significant delay in the process.”