Work on a £180m super campus in Dunfermline could see over 1500 more trees removed than first thought, it has emerged.
Fife Council is taking forward its ambitious plans for the former Hyundai/Freescale site off Dunlin Drive, with a new Fife College campus and replacements for both St Columba’s RC and Woodmill high schools due to be created on the land.
However, detailed site surveys have revealed that almost 5200 trees will need to be felled to accommodate the development as planned – an increase of 1555 from what has previously been approved.
Councillors on Fife’s central and west planning committee therefore agreed to the additional tree removal which would allow the Dunfermline Learning Campus to come forward on schedule when they met on Wednesday.
The problem emerged in relation to the proposed spine road which will serve the school and college site, with experts suggesting the grading of the road embankment to the immediate east of the road required extra tree clearance to provide an “appropriate and safely graded engineering solution”.
No tree removal is proposed for Calais Muir Wood to the south of the site, while councillors heard that 5085 new trees are to be planted as part of the Dunfermline Learning Campus development along with the creation of extensive hedgerow planting, rain gardens, bulb planting and meadows.
Case officer Bryan Reid told councillors that discussions with the site manager had suggested the number of trees to come down may eventually be lower, but recommended the additional tree clearance as stated be approved.
Councillors unanimously agreed the plan, although SNP councillor Derek Glen commented: “If we can keep that to the bare minimum then I think that would be advantageous for everybody.”
Seven letters of objections were received in response to the application, some of which raised concerns about whether or not more trees would need to be removed without justification in future.
Despite that though, council planners said they were satisfied that the scope of the work was only required following more accurate survey work done on site.
By local democracy reporter Craig Smith