Diosynth land crucial to economic revival

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A COMPULSORY purchase order is being considered by Fife Council on the former Diosynth factory land.

Earlier this month the Mail revealed a developer was keen to utilise part of the site, which is still in private ownership, for housing and a nursing home.

But the local authority has a higher priority.

It sees the site, near Percival Road in Buckhaven, as being key to the development of a new low carbon investment park.The proposed park, spread over 15 hectares, would provide a base for companies in the renewable energy sector, with Fife Council already having been awarded £861,000 by the European Regional Development Fund towards its creation.

Details of the proposal were released on Wednesday at a meeting of Levenmouth area councillors at Carberry House, Leven, during a discussion on the area’s strategic land allocation.

Proposed in 2005 as part of the county’s structure plan, this demands that space is found for 1650 new houses, a link road to the Energy Park and a new primary school, retail facilities and open space.

Land has now been identified as being between Methilhill and Denbeath and out as far as Percival Road.

Councillor Alistair Hunter said the proposed low carbon investment park demonstrates that the “sands are shifting” with regards to employment opportunities in Levenmouth.

He said: “We’ve seen this recently with Diageo, the Energy Park and the new businesses that want to come to Levenmouth.

“We started work in 2004 at the Energy Park with the emerging low carbon sector and in the six or seven years since our understanding has grown.

“This means employment for us and more financial investment.”

The park, considered to complement the Energy Park, will provide companies within the renewable sector with an in-land satellite area, offering a mix of business, general industry and storage facilities.

Michael Westwater, Fife Council planner, told councillors that the land owner at the Diosynth plant has been “reluctant to engage in discussions” with the council and consideration was being given to a compulsory purchase order.

Councillor Tom Adams added: “We need to get the houses in because if we don’t then the companies won’t come.

“It’s like the cart before the horse.”