Drive thru bakery in major development at former Babygro factory in Kirkcaldy

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One of Fife’s ‘top 100 businesses’ has pitched plans for a new drive thru facility on the site of the former Babygro factory in Kirkcaldy. If approved, the WM Stephen’s Bakery outlet would be built alongside a containerised storage facility and five business/light industrial units.

Gray Planning & Development Ltd has brought the development partnership proposals forward on behalf of Castlecroft Securities/Sonder. It as applied to Fife Council for the mixed use development on the vacant brownfield site near the junction of Henry Road and Hayfield Industrial Estate.

The industrial land became vacant in 2002, with the closure of clothing manufacturer Babygro, and the building’s subsequent demolition in the mid-2000s. Since then, the council has refused proposals for a housing development, but there has otherwise been little interest in the land.

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However, developers say these new plans would “enhance and improve the visual appearance of the currently vacant and derelict site, provide high-quality purpose-built commercial properties and return commercial use and create new jobs.”

How the former Babygro factory site could look like if the plans get the go ahead (Pic: Submitted)How the former Babygro factory site could look like if the plans get the go ahead (Pic: Submitted)
How the former Babygro factory site could look like if the plans get the go ahead (Pic: Submitted)

W.M Stephen (Bakers) Ltd is a key part in the development partnership, and the company is recognised by Fife Council’s Invest in Fife team as a “top 100 Fife Business” in terms of turnover, employment levels and output in the food production and hospitality sector.

The fourth generation family business has more than 240 employees - largely across Fife - and is looking to further expand.

“These proposals are very much a part of the company’s wider regional strategy for the business and will support an ongoing contribution to Fife’s economy,” a planning statement explained. “The applicants appreciate the nature of the proposed use could arouse concern about stationary traffic associated with the drive-through element. However, the amenity issues can be suitably mitigated and have been proven a success in the applicant’s other successful format outlets in Dunfermline, Kirkcaldy and Crossford.”

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If approved, the Kirkcaldy development will be the company’s fourth bakery/drive thru branch. Keepsafe Self Storage Ltd is another part of the development partnership. According to planning papers, Keepsafe has been one of the leaders within the Scottish storage industry, and the Kirkcaldy development is needed in response to storage demands.

“The demand for self storage has continually risen throughout the UK, particularly over the past 10 years. The distinct lack of storage space built into modern housing has spurred demand for householders requiring additional storage space,” a planning statement said.

The site is relying on the development partnership for the delivery of the site. Developers said the “speculative investment” in the industrial units would fail and the site would remain “unviable as an investible development of employment land” if the bakery or storage facility is rejected.

Fife Council will consider the application in due course.

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