THE Smith Anderson packaging factory in Falkland is likely to be sold off to a housing developer, the firm has revealed.
It was announced last week that the company will be moving to new premises in Kirkcaldy, ending a 40-year association with north east Fife.
Chief executive Michael Longstaffe explained that the Well Brae site has been earmarked for residential development in the latest local plan.
He told the Fife Herald and St Andrews Citizen: “Smith Anderson are consulting with Fife Council regarding our options for the Falkland site, which has been re-zoned as residential land within the new local plan.
“It is highly likely that we will sell the site when we can for development, or retain it and develop it ourselves, either way for sympathetic housing.”
Responding to concerns about the potential impact on Falkland’s economy, Mr Longstaffe said: “We do not have a canteen — there is a ‘chuck wagon’ open at limited times during the day and the bakery/roll shop in the village recently closed down.
“In simple terms the economy of Falkland relies in no way on Smith Anderson.”
Mr Longstaffe added that the reduction in heavy goods vehicles travelling through Falkland may be welcomed by villagers.
Smith Anderson’s 200 employees — around a quarter of whom hail from north east Fife — have been told they will keep their jobs.
The move to Kirkcaldy’s Mitchelston Industrial Estate will allow Smith Anderson to expand its paper bag manufacturing business.
Reacting to last week’s news, Howe of Fife councillor Donald Lothian admitted there would be ‘mixed emotions’ about the move.
He said: “This news will not come as a complete surprise, but for those directly affected it will likely be a time of mixed emotions and apprehension.
“The new modern facility in Kirkcaldy will hopefully provide a measure of future employment security, but nevertheless it will probably be an unsettling time for those currently employed in Falkland.”
He went on: “The factory has been a significant feature of life in Falkland for many decades and at its peak employed a large number of local people.
“And while it has never been a thing of beauty it is a landmark in Falkland’s history.
“I very much hope that the changeover period will fully take account of the needs of the employees, and that Smith Anderson will make every effort to accommodate their requirements during the period of change, which by its very nature is bound to cause some anxiety and worry.”