Popular Fife restaurant gutted by fire unveils plans to rebuild site

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A popular Fife restaurant gutted in a devastating fire is looking to return – if councillors approve a planning application

Kushi’s Restaurant in Dunfermline closed after a major blaze in April caused “severe damage” to the Canmore Street building in the city centre. It has been closed since, but a planning application has now been put forward to start the repair works. Riaz Mohammed, the building and restaurant owner, has asked Fife Council for permission for the “reinstatement and alterations to the fire damaged building.”

Located within the city’s conservation area, Kushi’s has long been an established Dunfermline eatery. The business has been going since 1947, when it opened its first restaurant on Victoria Street in Edinburgh. The Dunfermline venue opened in 2008. Prior to the restaurant, the building was known as St Margaret’s Hotel and pub.

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The C-listed building is in need of significant repairs before it can come back into use. In June, Mr Mohammed revealed that the roof and supporting beams were destroyed in the fire and the third floor of the building was completely gutted.

Fire crews tackle the blaze at Kushi's in April (Pic: TSPL)Fire crews tackle the blaze at Kushi's in April (Pic: TSPL)
Fire crews tackle the blaze at Kushi's in April (Pic: TSPL)

“The second floor of the restaurant has heavy damage from both the blaze and the water used to put it out. The ground floor, although spared the fire, has suffered extensive water damage and sadly there is very little that is salvageable,” a post on Kushi’s Facebook page continued. “There's no question, this will be a long road to recovery but every journey starts with the first steps and to know we are recovering with your support makes all the difference. We remain positive and thankful as we start down the road ahead.”

The planning application also noted that temporary scaffolding is still in place to the north gable wall to help stabilise the chimney wall. The planning application seeks to return the building to its original use. Externally, the roof would be rebuilt to match the existing except for two new windows on the roof. The first floor dummy window openings will also be re-constructed. No other external alterations are proposed to the property.

Internally, the restaurant will be much smaller than before, if the application is approved. Before the fire, the four floor building was broken into multiple uses – the basement was used for storage; the ground and first floors were used for the restaurant; and the second and third floors were residential.

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However, the owner wants to expand the residential usgae to include the first floor, and the restaurant area would subsequently be reduced.

Planning permission is sought for a change of use for the first floor and part of the ground floor to allow the construction of residential flats, with the remainder of the ground floor being developed as a smaller Class 3 Restaurant to replace the existing one damaged by fire,” a planning statement said.

Fife Council will make a decision in due course.