ONE of Scotland’s largest urban regeneration schemes has been unveiled with a planned £500 million investment expected to create 3,500 jobs.
The Rosyth Waterfront development in Fife would cover 120 acres and include five zones in the shadow of the Forth bridges. These would incorporate: a business and employment park; the Rosyth Gateway commercial zone, including a supermarket, leisure centre, restaurants and large stores; shops, cafes, bars, galleries, housing and waterfront gardens.
The masterplan was released yesterday by site owners, the Scarborough Muir Group (SMG), which said it hoped Rosyth Waterfront would become “a place where people feel they belong” and attract visitors from across Scotland.
The company, which bought the former Ministry of Defence site in 2004, is now undertaking a consultation process with Fife Council and the public. Ronnie Muir, director of SMG, said the site was in a “fantastic setting” which had never been accessible to the public until now.
“We want people to start and grow a business here, to settle and put down roots here. We also want visitors from across Scotland to visit the Waterfront and existing heritage including the bridges and Rosyth Castle throughout the year, to stay longer, to spend more and to return year on year,” Mr Muir said.
“SMG have spent the past ten years remediating the former MoD fuel storage facility, which was used by warships during the last century. The process is almost complete and the site is now ready to be developed and brought into use for the Rosyth public and tourists to enjoy and benefit from.”
He added: “In addition to this, the economic benefit is substantial with the creation of 3,500 new and permanent jobs with some £500m investment.
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“Few locations can boast the singular qualities and the immense potential of Rosyth Waterfront as a destination and as a sustainable place where life can flourish. A place that is economically thriving, artistically stimulating, environmentally balanced and with a strong sense of identity. In short, a place where people feel they belong.”
However, Alex Rowley, Labour MSP for Cowdenbeath and former leader of Fife Council, said the council must act to ensure the site provided long-term sustainable jobs incorporating the port of Rosyth.
Mr Rowley said: “I accept there has been a recession but let’s be cautious. I don’t want to see us run for a few jobs hanging on a retail and housing development at the expense of our future.
“This site is classified as a strategic economic development site and we need to strike a balance between the profits of developers and the long-term sustainability of the port of Rosyth and the surrounding area.
“What we have here is the only deep-water port on the east coast of Scotland. Large out-of-town retail parks can be built anywhere but we have something unique here. The council needs to start mapping out how it sees the future development of that site.”
Rosyth started off as a Garden City in 1915-1916 with 1,600 houses. It is now home to more than 13,000 residents.
Its dockyard closed in 1925 and the area saw very little growth until it reopened in 1939 with the outbreak of the Second World War. Although the dockyard provided the majority of jobs, businesses gradually moved into the town, with one of the first being Lyle and Scott, clothing manufacturers who set up there in 1962.
Robin Presswood, head of economy, planning and employability services at the council, said: “New creative thinking around development options for Rosyth is to be welcomed. The Waterfront remains a strategic asset, not just for the Fife economy, but the Scottish economy as a whole.”
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