In just three and a half weeks, Fife Employment Access Trust will hand over the business development plan for Silverburn Park to Fife Council.
Ahead of the deadline - and a second public consultation - FEAT’s consultants, Peter Mountford-Smith and Alison Crooks, detailed their plans for the park.
Brought in last November, they’ve spent the time speaking to local groups and organisations, and picking through the 60-plus ideas which were floated at the first public consultation held last January.
“The previous work was very successful,” said Alison. “So it has been our job to translate that into some sort of plan, looking at the viable ideas and things which can generate income and bring life back to the park.”
One of the top priorities is the former Flax Mill building.
“We have looked at doing some sort of camping on the site,” said Peter.
“We’re also talking right now about putting in a hostel space right at the end of the building. Other plans we have include a cafe/restaurant space and possibly space for meetings too.”
Methil based architects Sinclair Watt are currently drawing up plans, which will then given FEAT an opportunity to look for funding.
“When we get the architect’s plans, that will give us an idea of the cost - then we can get on to the fundraising. But we are talking millions to do the place up.”
Also hard at work in the park is Donald McPhillimy, a forestry consultant who is forming a woodland management plan, as well as identifing opportunities for volunteers to get involved.
Other plans for the park include liasing with Fife Coast and Countryside Trust to create a Fife Coastal path hub to encourage people to stay in the area, and making the most of the lawn space next to the main house.
Unfortunately, early inspections of both the Corrie Mar building and main house have not yielded good results, with Corrie Mar especially thought to be beyond repair.
“We’ve seen the photos from the main house, and it’s basically stripped inside and full of rot and damp.
“Because it was built as a house, the rooms aren’t that big and although people have suggested turning it into offices, because of the inflexible space, the money needed to renovate it could be put to better use elsewhere.”
The business plan will be submitted to councillors at the end of March, who will discuss it before it goes in front of Fife Council’s executive committee.
If everything is given the go-ahead, plans will be put into motion, but Peter said the public can’t expect to see changes overnight.
“We’ll start fundraising, and will have to think about what could be introduced on a staged basis. It will take at least three years for the Flax Mill to be done.
“Although we will be applying for funding, we can’t keep relying on grants. The camping and cafe will help to bring in employment and income, but we need to make it sustainable.”
FEAT has organised two future events: Wednesday, March 12 - a public consultation will be held at Blacketyside at 7.00 p.m. to give those interested in the future of the park a chance to hear about FEAT’s plans and ask any questions they have. Space is limited, so FEAT invites anyone who wishes to attend to call them on 01592 759371 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. April 19 -The local group will be holding a family fun day. Largely organised by its volunteer coordinator, there will be events from Medieval Methil, Fife Diet and lots of other activities to keep young and old alike entertained. The event takes place from noon until 4.00p.m. Those interested in Silverburn’s future are invited to keep an eye on www.journeytowork.co.uk , which will soon have updates and an opportunity to sign up for emails.