New bid to develop notorious Fife quarry where four people have lost their lives

New plans have been unveiled for a major development at a Fife quarry pond where four people have lost their lives in tragic accidents in the last 50 years.

If approved, the derelict Prestonhill Quarry in Inverkeithing - dubbed the most dangerous in Scotland - would become a residential development of 180 houses, plus holiday lodges, and a cafe/bistro.

It is the second time Glasgow based DDR (UK) Ltd has tried to develop the site. It was refused permission by councillors for a similar large scale project in February.

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The former dolerite quarry dates from the 1890s, but it ceased operations in 1980, and it has been unused since.

The quarry at InverkeithingThe quarry at Inverkeithing
The quarry at Inverkeithing

With repeated vandalism to security fences, the quarry has witnessed four tragedies over the years. A 12-year-old boy fell to his death in 1973, and there were a further two fatalities there in the space of 10 months in 2014 and 2015. Two years later , the body of a woman was recovered from the water.

In a detailed supporting statement, submitted as part of the planning application, the developer outlines its major plans or the 35-acre site.

As well as creating a new housing development, DDR said it would fill in the quarry, make significant improvements to remove dangerous rock faces, add a new road rink, and relocate the part of Fife Coastal within the site to a more coastal location.

A proposed new pier would also be positioned on the remnants of the derelict conveyor gantry which is currently unused and blocked off for safety reasons.

The developer said it would be accessible to the whole community, and could potentially be used by water taxis on the Firth of Forth.

The company said it recognised the “significant current and historical issues” to be addressed at the quarry site, but said: “This proposal offers the potential of removing a longstanding dangerous and derelict site, and will bring with it substantial economic benefit to Inverkeithing and Fife overall, whilst partially addressing the known shortfall of housing stock in Fife and specifically in the area of Inverkeithing.

“It has the opportunity to provide a truly distinctive coastal development incorporating features from the sites quarrying heritage. The proposals will provide much needed private and affordable housing for the local community and the holiday chalets and bar/bistro will attract tourists to the benefit of the wider Fife economy.”DDR said the location next to the Forth “provided the opportunity for a high quality, distinctive and sought-after residential development and tourist facilities.”

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The quarry has been a source of major concern to the community for many years a security fences continue to be breached, and parts are accessible by foot, despite warning signs posted by the local authority.

This year, the council put in place more additional barriers in an attempt to prevent vehicles accessing the quarry floor and the flooded pond.

The developer said if its planning application was approved, it would “immediately begin the process of making the site safe.”

It added: “This process cannot commence until planning permission is gained. Until such time, the risk of further accidents and the current demands on the police, fire and ambulance services will remain.”

Councillors will consider the application in due course.