Public access protected in any Silverburn deal

Silverburn estate
Silverburn estate

A PLEDGE has been given on protecting the future of a much-loved Leven parks.

Fife Council has invited private investors to stake a claim on all – or parts – of the decaying beauty spot in its latest drive to secure a viable financial future for the site.

However, in reaction to agents’ comments published in last week’s Mail, the authority is keen to stress it will only consider offers which involve leasehold, not outright sale.

Peter Howden, parks development manager, said: “This is a fantastic chance for an interested party to enhance and develop Silverburn Park, give it a new lease of life and a new beginning.

“We are very clear that we want to make sure we protect the future of Silverburn and want to reiterate we are not selling off the park.

“The council and the local community would love to see Silverburn become a top class attraction once again as it really has so much to offer.

“In order to make that dream a reality in the face of reducing council budgets, we’ve had to look at different ways of attracting investment and leasing all or part of the facility is the best option available. “

Silverburn Park was gifted to the council in conjunction with the National Trust in 1974 subject to an agreement that “...the subject/properties should remain forever as a quiet area used for the benefit of the public in general; and the people of Leven in particular for nature trails, quiet parkland and organised camping.”

As part of the original agreement the council must retain public access to the site.

A conservation agreement also prohibits new building development, other than ancillary buildings suited to leisure and tourism.

The park’s existing buildings – which have been left to decay in recent years – include the derelict former dower house Corriemar, which was last inhabited in 1985.

Silverburn House, which was built in 1854, has been unoccupied since 2002 and alongwith the listed former flax mill buildings is described as in poor condition.

Fife Council has been in talks with specialist property agents since 2007 to investigate ways to attract private investment to the park, but this latest marketing drive represents the biggest push to date.

Interested companies have the option of leasing the whole site or three or more parcels incorporating the park’s buildings.

The Gatehouse Lodge and Silverburn Cottages are excluded from the proposal.

Agent GVA confirmed it is seeking parties with a genuine interest in helping generate local services within the park to help improve the visitor experience and the local community as a whole.

Peter Smith of GVA commented: “We are keen to explore a variety of uses on behalf of the council, such as leisure facilities including camping and caravan pitches, outward bound operators, local retailers, children’s play centres and café/coffee shop operators.”

Applicants have until November 30 to register an interest with the agents GVA.

Further information is available from Peter Smith on 0113 280 8075.