Community takes ownership of reservoir in Newburgh

Newburgh Community Trust chairman Andrew Arbuckle (left) with Chris Wallace, Scottish Water's communications director.
Newburgh Community Trust chairman Andrew Arbuckle (left) with Chris Wallace, Scottish Water's communications director.

A scenic reservoir that sits above Newburgh was formally handed over to the town on Friday by Scottish Water.

Ownership of Lochmill reservoir has been transferred to the local community under the first right to buy initiative of its kind in Scotland.

Pete William, a trustee of Newburgh Community Trust and a member of the angling club with Fiona Mitchell (left), Fife council locality support team leader for north east Fife and Helen Rorrison, head of community development, Fife Voluntary Action.

Pete William, a trustee of Newburgh Community Trust and a member of the angling club with Fiona Mitchell (left), Fife council locality support team leader for north east Fife and Helen Rorrison, head of community development, Fife Voluntary Action.

Earlier this year, residents of the Newburgh district overwhelmingly backed a proposal to take ownership of the reservoir, which was previously the area’s main source of drinking water.

Thanks to support from the Community Land Fund, Newburgh Community Trust (NCT) will now take control of the reservoir, a haven for wildlife and a popular spot for anglers and walkers.

A dedicated team from the NCT will have responsibility for the reservoir and there are ambitions to create a new, informal pathway.

Trust chairman Andrew Arbuckle said: “This is a wonderful day for the people of Newburgh and the surrounding area.

“Even after the old Burgh Council gave Lochmill to the local authority in the 1970s, many of the older generation believed it still belonged to the town. Now it certainly does. I would thank Fife Voluntary Action and other organisations for their help in bringing this dream to reality.”

Steve Scott, Scottish Water’s community team manager for Fife, said Lochmill had served the community well for many years, providing customers with a source of high-quality drinking water.

“While the reservoir is no longer used to supply the community, it is well loved by many locals who enjoy the peace and tranquillity it offers.” He added that reservoirs were “wonderful places to enjoy the countryside” and urged visitors to stay safe and act responsibly around them.

Newburgh trustee and local angling club member, Pete Williamson - who remembers the reservoir being built - thought the acquisition would be of great benefit to the community.