Plans for Muiredge eyesore site win over neighbours

Proposed residential development at Percival Road
Proposed residential development at Percival Road

HOUSEHOLDERS in the Muiredge area of Buckhaven are keen to see new homes on the site of the former Diosynth chemical complex.

Developers reached this conclusion after the response to a public display highlighting their plans to transform land at the local industrial estate.

The Kirkcaldy-based Davidson Design Partnership Ltd. has already posted a proposal of application notice with Fife Council over its aims for Percival Road.

It hopes to create a 120-bed nursing facility, associated community day centre, and 60 homes.

After a public presentation at the Buck ‘n’ Hind pub, company director Deborah Muir said the community appeared strongly in favour of some kind of revitalisation at the plant.

Fellow director Alan Baxter added: “The overall response to the development was very positive and the locals were very enthusiastic about the provisions of new homes within Buckhaven.”

The firm said it was very grateful to residents for their interest in the proposals and for giving their opinions.

People were “fed up” with the look of the site and the image it presented when coming in to Buckhaven, said Ms Muir.

Although the firm has still to lodge a full planning application, Ms Muir hoped Davidson’s venture would be successful because it addressed a variety of needs.

The land was zoned for employment – of which there were different classifications, according to Fife Council – but jobs would hopefully be created during the building phase, and afterwards within in the care home, she said.

There had been no employment-related market interest in the site to date, she added, so the housing and care part of the projects might also be feasible.

The care home could have a maximum of 120 beds, said Ms Muir, but there would probably be nearer 60 when it reached the planning application stage, which would free up more land.

Respite would also be available for those who cared for dementia patients in the unit, while the full allocation of 60 proposed houses would be classed as affordable.

There could a shared ownership scheme, or Davidson could manage the housing in association with Fife Council, suggested Ms Muir.

Sheltered housing too was a a possiblity, which could add more jobs, she said – “and maybe a doctors’ surgery too, if the community wanted that and the doctors wanted it”.

Ms Muir conceded the care unit issue had been “a bit political”, with the uncertainty over Methilhaven Home’s future, but said any decision on that would be made long before anything happened on the Diosynth land.

The development would feature a new entrance, which would be shielded from the industrial area, while there was a protected greenbelt zone between the end of the site and the ‘Bird Scheme’.

“I do believe strongly that the community should have a say in what goes on,” said Ms Muir.

“Judging by the response at the presentation, everyone wants to see a use for that site.”

Diosynth closed in 2006 with the loss of 85 jobs, while subsequent bids to build houses on the land were turned down.

Davidson was expecting a report from its architects this week, while a planning application may be registered with Fife Council in around four to six weeks.

Land surveys were being done, said Ms Muir, and there would be more detailed consultation and talks in due course.