Potential for 2500 new jobs as Westfield regeneration approved

Regeneration plans for the former Westfield open cast mine could create as many as 2500 jobs.
Regeneration plans for the former Westfield open cast mine could create as many as 2500 jobs.

An ambitious and wide reaching regeneration plan to transform the former Westfield open cast site in Fife, creating up to 2500 jobs in the process, has been given the go ahead.

Planning approval in principle has been given for land-based and floating solar farms, an energy capture centre, recycling plant, industrial units and scope for large glasshouses for use in agricultural farming all on the Westfield site, close to Kinglassie, once the biggest open cast mine in Europe.

The finished site will create up to 1500 new jobs, with a further 1000 jobs created during the construction phase if the proposal from Durham-based Hargreaves Services (Westfield) Ltd, are fully realised.

The 423-hectare site, which has lain dormant since it was closed in 1998 has attracted previous interest but nothing on this scale.

“The potential presented is significant for us. “When you’re on site and have seen what can be done then this is something that we should be really excited about,” said Cllr Neil Crooks, Central Area Planning Committee convener.

The proposal would take shape over a number of years and even has the potential to reactivate a disused rail line.

And committee members and co-leader for Fife Council Cllr David Alexander pointed to the extensive list of organisations which have backed the ambitious plan.

He said: “The list of consultees and organisations contacted regarding this application are extensive and not one has objected or raised concerns,”

“We’ve seen plans before and there is no guarantee that all of this may come to fruition, All the low hanging fruit is in the detail.”

following extensive deliberations committee members unanimously approved the proposal at yesterday’s meeting.

However, despite being given the green light, some councillors voiced concern over its impact expected on the surrounding communities.

While not objecting to the planning application, neighbouring Perth and Kinross Council had indicate concern over the impact on communities close to the site and on the impact increase HGV vehicle movements will have on the surrounding road infrastructure,