SMG urges public to back waterfront project that could bring 3,500 jobs

DEVELOPERS are calling on Rosyth residents to show their backing for a £500 million plan to breathe new life into the Fife commuter town's waterfront and create 3,500 jobs.

Scarborough Muir Group (SMG), which bought the 200-acre site from the Ministry of Defence in 2000, wants to build offices, hotels and leisure facilities there.

But the company claims it needs Fife Council to re-zone some of the land, one mile west of the Forth Road Bridge, from industrial to mixed use in order for its plans to go ahead.

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The council is currently consulting on its draft local plan for Dunfermline and West Fife, and the developers are encouraging the public to respond.

SMG – a joint venture between Inverkeithing-based property and investment outfit Muir Group and Scarborough Group International, which owns Sheffield United football club and Castle Business Park in Stirling – has organised public meetings this week and next in Rosyth to outline its latest plans for the site, ahead of the consultation ending on 19 April.

SMG said it had already brought about 2,500 jobs to the area through the development of its 50m Rosyth Europarc site, which attracted businesses including Intelligent Finance.

Cesidio Di Ciacca, a director of SMG, told The Scotsman: "We asked people what they wanted on the site, and what came through strongly was that they wanted access to the waterfront because they had been denied that since about 1910, when Rosyth became a naval site.

"If the local plan is changed, then we could apply for planning permission for a 'gateway' development – which could include food outlets and a filling station – almost immediately.

"The other parts would be dependent on removing an old concrete bunker from the site, which is due to be completed within two years.

"That's a slow progress because we are demolishing a small piece each day to reduce disturbance to our neighbours."

He said SMG and the council agreed on uses for much of the site but differed on a key piece of ground at the eastern end of the development. SMG wanted to see that area zoned as "mixed use" rather than for the potential expansion of the port of Rosyth, which he said could be accommodated on land to the north.

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Bill Lindsay, Fife Council's team leader for local and community policy, said: "Although the council believes strongly that Rosyth waterfront and its port represents an important European gateway to Scotland – and has a considerable opportunity for port-related development – the council also supports leisure and commercial activities that relate to this important role.

"Fife Council is committed to developing Rosyth's role in tourism as well as the important industrial commercial role of the port, and looks forward to working in partnership with Scarborough Muir and the other land owners at Rosyth as part of the finalisation of the local plan."