Plans submitted for new school campus and residential development in Aberdour

PLANS have been lodged for a new school campus and 186 homes in the north west of Aberdour, Fife.

Hillside School is planning to create a new modern Additional Support Needs campus within the grounds of its estate, accommodating 35 pupil places and 10 small business workspace units alongside a new residential development delivered by Cala Homes.

The proposals will see the school move out of the B-Listed Hillside House, which is said to have become ‘impractical and expensive’ to maintain, into a new energy efficient building, along with accommodation, playing field and workshops within a tree lined portion of the 135-acre estate.

The relocation will be funded through the sale of part of the landholdings to Cala, with 25% of homes proposed as on-site affordable housing.

Anne Harvey, director of the school, said, “The new proposals will not only provide a fit for purpose, modern and sustainable educational facility, but protect and maintain the existing employment levels at the school presently numbering 85 in total. The needs of our pupil population have changed considerably. They have more complex social and educational needs and this is reflected in a reduction in pupil numbers from around 60 to a maximum of 35. As a result, teaching methods and the requirements of the digital age demand a different teaching environment.

“Many of our young people have limited family contact so Hillside is their home for several years of their lives. It is expected that each young person has their own room with en-suite facilities and a study area. This has become increasingly challenging in our existing buildings.”

Lichfields, a planning and development consultancy, detailed the economic impact the proposed development by Hillside School and Cala Homes is expected to bring to the surrounding area. According to the report, each year of the build process will create an economic boost of around £31.6 million as well around 465 full-time construction jobs.

The new homes are anticipated to provide a further £2.5 million economic boost per annum, associated with resident expenditure, which is estimated to support an additional 35 full-time jobs across various sectors.

Stephen Faller, land manager with Cala Homes (East), added, “We understand the sensitive nature of the development and recognise there is a responsibility on us as a collective to bring forward the best possible plans. Given the site achieved outline planning consent in 2021, the teams have worked hard to understand the concerns around the previous proposals and have amended our designs to reduce the overall residential development footprint by around 15%.

“The previous consent provided mainly five-bed homes, whereas the proposed mix of housing reflects a much higher proportion of two-, three- and four-bed properties compared to the PPiP consent, which was based on feedback received locally.

“The residential and school development will be gas-free, containing new electric charging points and extensive tree planting which is putting sustainability at the core of the development. The proposals also include a dedicated three-metre cycle/pedestrian link within the development which will connect the village to the site for the wider public’s benefit, reducing the reliance on car use.”

Following the initial Planning Permission in Principle (PPiP) being granted in 2021, Cala has made some changes, moving from 125 large, detached homes to 186 homes which comprise a greater number of cottage flats, terraced and three-bedroom homes, of which 46 homes will be delivered as affordable housing.

Homes will include air source heat pumps, EV charging and timber construction and will see Cala continue to build on its involvement in the area with its current Aberdour site nearing completion.

Following a detailed consultation at Aberdour Community Centre in April, the plans have now been submitted to Fife Council.