Developers foot £480k education bill to build 80 new homes

Councillors only agreed to the development after firm AELD Ltd agreed to funding the education bill.

Developers foot £480k education bill to build 80 new homes in Balgonie, Fife JM Planning Services/AELD Ltd

Councillors have approved an 80-home development near Queens Meadow in Coaltown of Balgonie.

However, Glenrothes-based AELD Ltd will be forced to pay education contributions to the tune of £484,102 to proceed. 

Approval for the plans came at the West and Central Planning committee meeting.

Concerns were raised over with the capacity of both Coaltown Primary School and Auchmuty High Schoo according to a report: “Education Fife Council’s Education Team has advised that there is a critical capacity risk expected at Auchmuty High School with all eligible new homes in the catchment area to contribute towards a solution.”

The total cost of the high school capacity solution is estimated to be £3m.

Likewise, there is a critical capacity risk expected at Coaltown of Balgonie Primary School. The total primary solution cost is estimated at £819,985. 

The site currently consists of two former agricultural fields that have not been used in a number of years. 

The FifePlan previously earmarked the land for residential development with an estimated capacity of 50 homes. 

“It is acknowledged that the proposals are for 80 units – 30 more than capacity – but important to note that the FifePlan allocation is just an estimate. It’s a common occurrence for applicants to propose either more or less units than the allocation,” a planning officer explained. 

Officers ultimately recommended the development despite 74 community objections ranging from traffic concerns, school capacity, sewage and water service capacity, to construction traffic, and noise concerns

A transportation assessment found that the development would generate approximately 128 two-way trips in the morning and an additional 116 two way in the evening.  The assessment concluded that the Main Street/Queens Meadow junction is predicted to operate “satisfactorily” with no significant impact to safety. 

The development will consist of a mix of 48 two, three and four bedroom semi-detached and detached bungalows, and 32 three, four and five bedroom semi-detached and detached two-storey villas.

Eight affordable houses will be integrated into the development to meet council policy standards.