A Fife businessman is threatening to walk away from the regeneration of a dilapidated industrial estate, claiming Fife Council is thwarting his efforts.
Colin Nikolic, owner of CN Properties in Glenrothes, said his plans to regenerate the former TT Electronics site in Eastfield Industrial Estate – which would provide much needed new industrial space and the possibility of dozens of new jobs in the town – have been halted and could now be scrapped.
Having already carried out some of the subdivision work for one of the existing buildings, Mr Nikolic applied for retrospective planning permission in June.
But he claims that, despite his good intentions to push forward with the £1.75m regeneration plan, council officers are obstructing his progress.
Mr Nikolic started the work without a change of use agreement in place because of a “rush of interest” in the redevelopment plans.
“Due to a combination of circumstances the subdivision was progressed without the correct documentation in place – my fault. However,they were built to a very high standard,” said Mr Nikolic
“You’d have thought that the council would be delighted to have someone breathing new life into a site which has been empty for 27 years, but I’ve had nothing.”
“The site had remained boarded up for years and had no utilities.
“I have spent around £70,000 putting in appropriate water and electric supplies to the site and I have already got six of the eight units occupied by small businesses.”
And the Glenrothes businessman points to a report by Fife Council’s Robin Presswood, head of Economy, Planning and Employability Services, which confirmed that much of the town’s stock of industrial premises were “no longer adequate for modern business purposes”.
Mr Nikolic is now threatening to withdraw his application to build 15 new units on the site if the delays continue.
“I’m not seeking financial support, just an understanding from Fife Council as to where we are.”
Responding to Mr Nikolic’s frustrations, Mary Stewart, service manager, Planning, said:” Fife Council appreciates the importance of providing suitable premises for small businesses and welcome the efforts of Mr Nikolic and others in this market.
“For this reason, officers have been working with Mr Nikolic to progress his Planning and Building Warrant applications towards a positive outcome.
“Unfortunately, some of the information needed to assess the applications has not yet been submitted by his agent.
“Senior managers have already discussed the position with Mr Nikolic and have agreed that once the outstanding information is received the applications will be progressed as a matter of priority.”