‘Death trap’ Fife factory set to face the wrecking ball

Smith Anderson CEO Michael Longstaffe (right) with Councillor MacDiarmid at the site
Smith Anderson CEO Michael Longstaffe (right) with Councillor MacDiarmid at the site
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A disused Falkland factory that was at the centre of safety fears is likely to be demolished by the end of the year, it has emerged.

Concerns were raised earlier this year about St John’s Works, the former Smith Anderson factory at Well Brae, which had been left in a dangerous state by vandals.

But this week the boss of the papermaking giant,Michael Longstaffe, praised the police and local community for helping beat the hooligans.

He said: “Having pledged to clean up the entire site and secure all points of entry, we have done just that.

“Working with an excellent community police team, we have also identified some of the culprits involved in previous damage and I am very pleased to report a complete cessation in both criminal damage and illegal entry onto any part of the site.

“Smith Anderson would like to thank the police, parents, local councillor MacDiarmid and members of the Falkland Community Council for a fantastic result.

“Demolition work is likely to start soon and we have already erected a two-metre perimeter fence around the entire site.

“This clearly demarks a wider secure zone which must be respected by the community if we are to maintain the newly created and very welcome improvement in site security and safety.

“Police and parents have been superb and Smith Anderson will do all we can do ensure the improved situation is maintained.”

He continued: “St John’s Works is very likely to be entirely demolished before the end of the year, concluding any structural risk and affording the village a significant amount of increased light into the winter months.”

Smith Anderson once employed 200 people at the factory but have re-located to single storey premises in Kirkcaldy, ending an association with Falkland stretching back some 45 years.

Councillor David MacDiarmid, who represents the area, said he had met Mr Longstaffe on site following concerns raised by villagers that the building was a ‘death trap.’

“The first meeting included the local community police, whose input has been invaluable,” he said.

“The visible police presence on site has greatly reduced illegal entry into these very dangerous buildings.

“I was heartened to hear from Michael Longstaffe that the contractors will be on site this week to install temporary fencing around the whole perimeter of the site. This will start the clock ticking for the 18-week demolition of the buildings.

“Once the fencing is erected, and the warning signs are up, then any individual breaching these fences will be asking for trouble.”