Dunfermline Press

Plans for new hotel and golf course at old mine


A MIXED use leisure and tourism led developmen­t that includes an hotel, golf course, housing and a holiday park at the old Comrie Colliery would “generate £200 million in revenue”.

The owners of the site, north of Blairhall, have submitted fresh plans to Fife Council and say it will create 1,400 jobs during constructi­on and sustain employment for 650 people year on year.

Comrie Developmen­t Company (CDC) bought the sprawling site - it’s over 440 acres, or around 220 football pitches, in size - in 2020 and the proposals also include a care village, garden centre, public park, a loch for water sports, a large renewable energy hub, business units and a heritage centre.

The firm said it will plough £30m annually into the local economy and bring back into use “West Fife’s largest vacant and derelict land site”.

Director Robert Haugh told the Press: “This has been a very exiting journey and I am delighted to bring forward such a strong propositio­n with our whole team at Comrie Developmen­ts looking forward to making this project a reality.”

The ambitious project is for a 150-bed hotel, which would be three or four stars, with a wellness spa, gym, swimming pool, tennis centre, shop, cafe / restaurant and a ‘Fife Cooking Centre’, and they have already been in talks with three hotel operators. Similarly, they have been in discussion­s with Landal Green Parks, a Dutch company and major player with ‘holiday villages’ around Europe, about their plans for visitor accommodat­ion with space for up to 420 tourism lodges / chalets.

Full restoratio­n of the old mine would also see a nine-hole golf course, a care village with up to 320 retirement properties, a garden centre and cafe with a farm shop and ‘rural foods outlet’, a new 10 hectares public park with water-based sports and leisure activities on offer, and the retention and enhancemen­t of 34 hectares of woodland. A solar farm would take up 80 acres and Mr Haugh said they’re also looking into establishi­ng if “the old mine workings can provide geothermal energy through heat recovery from mine water” under the ground.

If successful it could provide energy from the mixed-use developmen­t and also be used for a district heating scheme to benefit the local community.

The retirement village and building of 192 homes would help “fund and facilitate” the developmen­t and restoratio­n plans and there will be land available for industrial and business units to “provide much needed space for local businesses”.

The firm have consulted widely and have been working with the West Fife Woodland group, making land and material available for new footpaths and cycleways to connect to the paths from Saline, through the site and along the old railway line to Comrie.

There would also be car parking and public transport connection­s, with Stagecoach approached to see if they’ll run buses into the area.

In a planning statement, Ironside Farrar explained: “Comrie represents a major opportunit­y to secure new investment in West Fife, regenerate local communitie­s and address - without public sector funding - the restoratio­n of West Fife’s largest vacant and derelict land site.

“The project is ambitious, requires a major long-term commitment and requires planning permission in principle support to unlock investment confidence and advance to the next stages of investment.”

Mining has taken place in that area, between Blairhall and Saline, since at least the 1860s.

Comrie Colliery occupied the site from 1939 until 1986 and all signs of the coal industry have been demolished and removed, apart from one remaining pug shed.

To prepare the site for developmen­t, work to remove a former bing has been completed with more than 8,000 lorry loads of material from the site taken down to Low Valleyfiel­d last year to cap the ash lagoons near Longannet.

In their plans CDC, who are based in Lancashire, envisage the pug shed being converted into a local community museum to “celebrate and honour the past legacy of mining operations at Comrie”.

There is still a way to go before the site is ready and planning consultant­s, Ironside Farrar, said that enabling works would cost up to £55m and ‘leveraged investment’ is projected to be £150m.

If the masterplan is approved, at this stage they have applied to the council for planning permission in principle, the project would be delivered in phases between 2026 and 2037.

Ironside Farrar concluded: “The proposals seek to create a high quality sustainabl­e tourism and leisure destinatio­n with associated enabling housing.

“The developmen­t will address the significan­t need for restoratio­n of the site, whilst providing economic and community benefits to the site and surroundin­g area.”

 ?? ?? This is what the old Comrie Colliery site looked like in 2021. It could be very different in a few years time thanks to ambitious restoratio­n plans. Image: Fife Council
This is what the old Comrie Colliery site looked like in 2021. It could be very different in a few years time thanks to ambitious restoratio­n plans. Image: Fife Council
 ?? ??

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from United Kingdom