Park progress at Silverburn in 2015

The flax mill is at the centre of the plans - but it's now closed due to health and safety concerns
The flax mill is at the centre of the plans - but it's now closed due to health and safety concerns

The group tasked with transforming Silverburn Park has reflected on the last 12 months of hard work to bring it back to what it once was.

Fife Employment Access Trust (FEAT) was handed the reins at the popular Levenmouth park three years ago, and has since produced detailed plans for complete refurbishment of buildings and spaces within the park, as well as holding a number of projects and evens within its grounds.

One of the main aspects of the groups’ plans for the park is the complete transformation of the former Flax Mill building.

The plan includes the creation of a hostel in one wing of the space, with a cafe, offices and meeting spaces in the other.

The mill has recently been closed on health and safety grounds, meaning it is now more important than ever to develop the building which is clearly at risk.

Duncan Mitchell, FEAT manager, explained: “It will cost a lot of money to rehabilitate the mill, maybe around £3 million, and to raise that kind of money, funders need to know there is a very well thought-out plan.

“They also need to know that the necessary consents are going to be in place.”

To do this, FEAT is working with Fife Historic Buildings Trust, which will provide expert assistance in preparing detailed documentation required to apply to large capital funders to gain the necessary monies to realise the plan.

Another aspect of the plans for Silverburn include a campsite and allotments. While a planning application has been submitted, with FEAT hoping to open the site in spring, Duncan explained that the planning process has taken longer than expected and this deadline will not be met.

Meanwhile, within the park, FEAT has been working with a number of local volunteers who have been developing the back garden of the group’s office space at Cottage No.3 into a growing space.

They have also been working in the woodlands, removing invasive species, a particular problem within the park.

Duncan added: “As well as improving the woodland, these efforts have provided therapeutic activity for those involved, and helped them develop employability skills in a range of woodland, outdoor, rural and traditional skills.

“Volunteers have also been doing litter picking in recent months and our staff and volunteers are working with Fife Council with a view to repairing the car park pot-holes.

“We also have a small group of volunteers working on a research and history project, charting the history of the estate and in particular the industrial heritage.”

FEAT has also held a number of events within the park during the last twelve months, including the first Silverburn music festival, which Duncan is hopeful will run again next year, alongside other family fun days over the spring and summer periods.