Chimney not coming down – yet

Cllr David MacDiarmid is concerned about the possible building of 100 houses. (Pic: George Mcluskie)
Cllr David MacDiarmid is concerned about the possible building of 100 houses. (Pic: George Mcluskie)

The 35m high chimney marking the former St John’s Works in Falkland will not be demolished for another two or three weeks.

The village’s VisitFalkland organisation had invited residents to watch the chimney come down on Monday afternoon, but this week contractors Central Demolition said this week that the demolition had not been scheduled for Monday and indeed would not happen for another two or three weeks.

The future of the site was cast in doubt this week as Falkland councillor David MacDiarmid voiced concerns over the future of the village where the factory site has been earmarked for 100 houses in strategic planning document FIFEplan.

Work has been going on to demolish the works, which date back to the 19th century, since the end of last year, and it is expected the land will be sold for housing when demolition is complete in early spring.

But Cllr MacDiarmid warned that the village couldn’t accommodate the size of development proposed without “changing into a small town” and that there would be a backlash if the proposal went ahead.

He didn’t deny the need for housing, particularly social housing: “The main thing for me is that we look at social housing – it’s a must for the people who live here and the people who want to live here.”

But he continued: “The infrastructure is not there. We have not got the roads or the drains. We’ve got a doctor’s surgery that is creaking at the seams. The school couldn’t cope with another 100 kids.”

Local organisation VisitFalkland is to host a meeting to discuss the future of the site next weekend.

Talking about the annual Community Gathering, Stuart Pearson, secretary of VisitFalkland, said that a large part of the afternoon-long event would be about: “having input to the community and much of this will be in relation to the factory site, discussing what, as a community, we would like to see happen with the site in the future.”

He described the demolition of the factory as: “a defining moment for Falkland, with a story which has many parts to it through the centuries, this is the end of one chapter and the start of another.

“The factory has brought a lot to the village and many residents settled here because of it, it is a sad day for many, others have questions about what next and some are excited about the future.”

Visit Falkland’s Community Gathering is in Falkland’s Town Hall on March 4, between 1pm and 4pm.