Cash injection nudges on park project

The old Flax Mill at Silverburn
The old Flax Mill at Silverburn
  • FEAT seeks more Silverbun cash
  • Bosses grateful for Council support
  • Concern raised over costs
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Councillors have approved funding of £7500 which will help to progress the project aimed at revitalising Silverburn Park.

Fife Employment Access Trust (FEAT) has been working on a proposal to completely renovate the former Flax Mill to create a hostel, camping area and cafe.

A request was made to the area budget for the cash, which will be used alongside £7,500 of funding from the Strengthening Enterprising Communities Development Fund.

However, the total cost of the project - to employ the services of a specialist Architechtural Heritage company which will draw up the detailed plans for the Flax Mill - is expected to be around £40,000 and FEAT is still waiting to hear whether an application to the Architectural Heritage Fund (AHF) for £25,000 has been succesful or not.

Duncan Mitchell, manager at FEAT, said: “We are hugely appreciative to the Council for continuing to support the plans for Silverburn which can have a major impact environmentally, economically and socially if they all come to fruition.

“The result of the AHF application will be known on March 25-26, and while we’re not counting our chickens, the confirmation of this double financial contribution is likely to add further weight to our application.

“We have made the AHF aware in advance of their committee meeting that the £15,000 has been secured and we are very optimistic.

“Representatives from AHF had a tour of the grounds and the Flax Mill in December with us and understand fully our plans for the whole park. However, restoring the Flax Mill does require specialist input, which is not inexpensive, and this is the purpose of these applications.

“Should the outcome be positive, this is the first major step to unlocking the larger funding that will be required to reach the end goal.

“There are also other sources of funding that we can approach if this becomes necessary, and having the both the financial contribution and approval of our plans from Fife Council already guaranteed will certainly help to lever in more money in future.”

While supportive of the plans, Councillor Alistar Hunter did voice his reservations.

“While this is a good and necessary step, and I agree in principle, it is not without concerns,” he said. “There are a number of times (the area committee) has had to dip in. This is an absolutely necessary part, so I’m going to support it, but I think we need to have a discussion with FEAT so that an agreement will be met that they will not come back to us (for funding).”

Mr Mitchell added: “There is a lot going on in the background and we believe progress is being made on all fronts. However our usual reminder must be made that this is a very long-term project and not a quick fix.”