Silverburn attracts investors’ interest

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PRIVATE investors are expressing interest in leasing sections of Silverburn Park.

Fife Council recently invited groups which supported leisure and tourism to stake a claim on all – or some – of the popular Leven visitor attraction, to halt its decline and secure a viable financial future.

The November 30 deadline for declarations of interest passed with “a good level of enquiries”, according to agent GVA.

It’s understood a meeting is taking place on Friday between estate department representatives and consultants to discuss the replies.

The representations made cover a range of pursuits, with speculative enquiries about the site’s suitability for caravanning and elderly projects among them.

Fife Council has been trying for several years to attract private investment to the park, with the condition of the decaying buildings there presenting a major financial challenge.

When the latest marketing drive was announced, it was stressed the park was not being sold off – the local authority would only be considering offers which involved leasehold, not outright sale.

Public access will also be retained, under the terms of the original deal when Silverburn Park was gifted to the council, in conjunction with the National Trust, in 1974.

The agreement stipulated “the subject/properties should remain forever as a quiet area used for the benefit of the public in general and the people of Leven in particular, for nature trails, quiet parkland and organised camping”, while a conservation agreement also prohibited new building development.

Existing buildings include the derelict former dower house Corriemar, last inhabited 26 years ago, and Silverburn House, built in 1854, unoccupied for nearly 10 years and, along with the listed former flax mill buildings, described as in poor condition.

Interested parties have the chance of leasing the whole 10-hectare site or three or more parcels incorporating the park’s buildings, excluding the Gatehouse Lodge and Silverburn Cottages, with asking prices also open to negotiation.

Peter Howden, Fife Council’s parks development manager, said there would be a period of assessment while more detail was sought and discussions held, before a short list may be reached.

The whole future of Silverburn and access to it was a very sensitive issue, he added, so there would also have to be consultation with “councillors and communities”.

A spokesman for GVA indicated there had been a good number of enquiries which were “under consideration”.