Silverburn talks open with preferred partner

Silverburn estate at Leven
Silverburn estate at Leven
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A DECISION on the future management of Silverburn Park is moving closer.

One potential applicant for the future management and maintenance of the prized Leven asset has particularly impressed Fife Council.

And the authority hopes to reach an agreement with the prospective developer soon – after many months of speculation on who might take over the popular location, and for what purpose.

Dave Paterson, Fife Council’s area services manager for Levenmouth, declined to say at this stage which venture looked the most likely, from a short list of five.

But he told the Mail that one group “encapsulated the main objects the council is looking for”.

More talks were due in the next couple of weeks, hopefully to finalise a decision, he said, with the council and the bidder each wanting to satisfy the other’s criteria.

However, the lease would not be handed over there and then, explained Mr Paterson.

Once the new venture had been identified, they would be looking to develop a fully-formed business plan over the following 12 months or so.

The council has been looking to attract private investment on a long-term, lease-only basis to revitalise Silverburn and hopefully halt its well-documented decline.

The council held separate informal talks with all five potential leaseholders on a single day in May, to gather more information.

Mr Paaterson said at the time that each applicant had “an interesting and sound case for being considered”.

The bidder emerging as most likely was keen on a ‘whole park approach’, added Mr Paterson, which was a very important factor in the council’s reckoning.

Public access was also very much at the forefront, according to the terms of the bequest of Silverburn from David Russell to the people of the town back in 1974.

Even if this group was chosen, said Mr Paterson, other applicants would not be ruled out, as it was possible they may be able to work together.

Among the suggestions known to be on the table were a £1 million one-stop crematorium and bereavement services facility, put forward by a Leven businessman, while the Silverhaven Trust hoped to redevelop Silverburn House at a cost of around £3 million to provide an affordable holiday and recreational area, allowing people with disabilities to get away for a break.

David Russell’s family hoped the principles of his gift to the community would remain and the people would have a peaceful, attractive setting for walks and leisure.