A FIFE drinks company is set to lodge plans later this month to develop £150m warehouse storage facilities at Cluny.
Global firm Diageo, based in Leven, is set to submit formal proposals to Fife Council around mid-March.
The company is seeking permission to build 46 warehouses for the maturation of Scotch whisky at Begg Farm as part of its ongoing expansion.
Potentially the project could create 200 long-term construction jobs and around 40 operational posts. But in order for the scheme to go ahead, it will have to overcome some planning difficulties as the land at the former opencast coal site is not zoned for industrial use, according to the Mid-Fife Local Plan.
Diageo wants to build the warehousing, which will take up to seven years, to boost increased production of scotch at its Cameronbridge distillery and cut transport costs to its maturation centre at Blackgrange in Clackmannanshire.
Richard Bedford, Diageo’s Grain Distilling Director, said the new warehousing development is required following an increase in the global demand for whisky.
He said: “The value of scotch as an export to the Scottish economy is huge.
‘‘I think sales are going to continue to grow over the next 12 years - that is how long it takes to make Johnnie Walker Black Label - and that means we need more warehouses.
‘‘We wanted a big site and we looked at various options across Fife and Clackmannanshire.
“What this site has got going for it is scale - it is big enough for us - and it is very close to the A92.”
Mr Bedford continued: “We have not been out for detail design or spec or tendering yet but the estimated investment would be £150m.
‘‘That could easily be give or take £20-odd million as we don’t know the outcome for the detailed groud survey or the plant we would want to install.”
Alan Russell, chief executive, Fife Chamber of Commerce, added: “This proposal by Diageo to invest in a new warehouse facility in Kirkcaldy is further evidence of the company’s commitment to Fife.
‘‘This investment is important to the company and in the current climate, the new jobs are extremely valuable to the area.
‘‘Whilst the proposal may be contrary to the local plan, plans can be amended, and I would hope that Fife Council will pull out all the stops to make sure this investment is secured for Kirkcaldy and Fife.”