Burntisland’s neglected East Dock is set to be given a new lease of life through a multi-million pound investment programme due to start within a few weeks.
And it has been given a further boost with the news that an established industrial timber supply company could be set to move into the waterside site later this year, bringing more job opportunities to the town and sparking a revival of the derelict site.
The news that Scott Timber, which currently has premises at Europarc in Rosyth, could develop the site for an extended base, has met with delight from Burntisland councillor, George Kay, who described it as “great news.”
“This is a very welcome development as the East Docks around the big blue shed have lain in a bad state for around 30 years,” he explained. This area is a huge expanse of nothingness at the moment and to have this company transfer to this site with the promise of 50-plus jobs coming in is great news for the town.
“As I understand they will ship the timber in to the dock process it there then distribute it.
‘‘And as we all hope, something like this could kick start the regeneration of the whole area.”
A spokesman for Forth Ports plc. which owns the majority of the land at Burntisland port, said: “Forth Ports confirms that it has submitted a planning application to change one of its existing buildings at Burntisland as part of its plans to seek to attract a family-run timber business to the Port later this year.
“This is part of a multimillion pound investment by Forth Ports to develop the Port of Burntisland, with the initial construction works starting at the Port in the next couple of weeks.
“Forth Ports is actively looking at development opportunities for its Fife coastal ports and has successfully re-opened Kirkcaldy after being closed to ship traffic for over twenty years.”
The planning application, lodged with Fife Council on March 7, states that Forth Ports wants to change the use of one of its dockside premises used for port related uses to add general industrial use to its remit.
A spokesman from the Scott Group said: “We are in discussions with Forth Ports in relation to a number of potential sites within the Fife area and other areas of Central Scotland, however nothing has yet been agreed.”
Alex McDonald, chairman of Burntisland Community Council, stressed that any development plans must fit in with the surrounding area.
“I attended a meeting with Forth Ports a few weeks ago, together with George Kay and also Susan Leslie, at which we discussed the strategic potential of the East Dock for certain types of industrial development.
“Naturally no commercially-sensitive information was disclosed and at that time there was no firm proposal on the table. However, the plan from Scott Pallets is one which the Community Council will now look at very closely.
“During the meeting, I explained to Forth Ports that we are very keen to see the East Dock used to its full potential, because of the employment opportunities and the fact that the land has been derelict for many years. However, I emphasised that the nearby leisure and recreation facilities – such as the Beacon and the Links - are a focal point of the local economy. So any development at the East Dock must respect the current use of the adjacent land.
“Historically, we have opposed planning applications which we felt were inappropriate, either because they were visually intrusive or because they had an unacceptable impact on road traffic.
“On paper, the current application involves the migration of existing jobs from Rosyth to Burntisland, so the opportunity for new, local employment may be limited.
‘‘In addition, the application contains very little information about traffic flows and therefore it’s difficult for us to assess the impact on local roads.
“So far, there is no sign of any proposed landscaping which would help to screen the site from the nearby recreational facilities.
‘‘Up to now we have always taken the view that such developments present an ideal opportunity to enhance the local environment. So we may argue that well-chosen planting schemes should be an integral part of any planning consent which may be granted.
“One factor which makes the evaluation of this application difficult is that Forth Ports claim they already have the right to carry out certain developments without seeking planning consent. The information contained in the application is limited.
“Regardless of the statutory position, we will seek whatever additional information may be necessary to help us assess the overall impact on Burntisland.”