Key road and rail improvements for Fife have been put on track in a plan to be approved by Scottish ministers.

Commitment is proposed for a northern relief road and western distributor road in Dunfermline and A92 junction improvements at Redhouse, Bankhead and Preston roundabouts and the Chapel interchange at Kirkcaldy and Glenrothes.

It is also mooted in the proposed Edinburgh and south-east Scotland city region plan for the Levenmouth rail link and Halbeath rail halt, pending further assessment.

A passenger rail link between Dunfermline and Alloa is listed as a longer term project, again pending further appraisal.

If rubber-stamped by Scottish ministers the SESplan blueprint will map out how the area should grow over the next 20 years.

A SESplan spokesperson said inclusion of the Fife transportation projects will give them Scottish Government’s seal of approval when it is signed off in 2018.

He said: “To get projects progressed we have to go through various stages of approval and the inclusion of these in the strategic development plan is a push forward in terms of the business cases.”

Inclusion of the Levenmouth rail link, already a priority of Fife Council and the South East Scotland Transport Partnership, was an expected boost for Levenmouth Rail Campaign as a step towards addressing a “screaming injustice”.

Secretary Allen Armstrong said: “We would have been shocked and appalled if it was not included.

“It is already a priority of SEStran and Fife Council local plan and now it is in the SESplan – it is absolutely essential these all recognise the logical and compelling case.

“It is a continuing disgrace that it is not already connected.

“Levenmouth is by far and away the largest urban population centre in Scotland without a direct rail link.”

At the heart of SESplan is the aim to increase the rate of house-building by a third as the population grows, with more than 10,000 new homes built in Fife between 2018 and 2030.

Aside from road, rail and tram improvements to support the growth, it sets out proposals for an improved regional walking and cycling network, including the Fife Pilgrim Way between Dunfermline and St Andrews.

Regional planning authority SESplan is a partnership of Fife, City of Edinburgh, Scottish Borders, West Lothian, East Lothian and Midlothian councils.

Convenor Councillor Stuart Bell said: “This document is the result of the six councils in the area working closely together to plan a better long-term future for the region, where growth is directed to the right places.

“The recent announcement that a city region deal for our region will be developed jointly by the councils in the region, in partnership with Scottish and UK Governments, means that some of the infrastructure which is needed to support this growth, and which is identified in the SESPlan, can potentially be delivered sooner rather than later.”

Members of the public can comment on the proposed plan until November 24.

It can be viewed online at www.sesplan.gov.uk and at council planning offices and libraries.

Source: The Courier

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