Plans to breathe new life into one of Scotland’s last remaining flax industry buildings are progressing well, according to the latest project update.
Earlier this year, the Levenmouth Reconnected Programme allocated £500,000 from the £10 million LRP Fund towards the Fife Employment Access Trust’s proposals to turn the former flax mill in Leven’s Silverburn Park into a new visitor centre, backpackers’ hostel, café, artist studios, community space and a shop.
The initiative – which will end up costing around £10m in total - will also create around 130 jobs, including construction trainee placements for local young people and roles for people experiencing mental health problems, and will provide excellent opportunities for under-represented communities.
Here’s a quick update from Silverburn Park on how things are going so far:
The Flax Mill development project remains on track with the focus being on the selection of a main contractor. The first stage of the tendering process has been completed with seven contractors submitting responses. These are now being marked by the Design Team with the intention of selecting three to six contractors to go forward to the second stage, which is the detailed tender. That stage will commence in November leading to the selection of a main contractor in March 2023, with work planned to start on site in April 2023.
In parallel, the Design Team have been completing the final building designs and responding to the conditions attached to the Planning Approval and Listed Building Consent. There is also continuing work in and around the Flax Mill to complete the work required to obtain the Building Warrant. This started with the drilling of three test boreholes which are being used to confirm the ground conditions around the building. One of the boreholes located the depth and temperature of the groundwater and will enable the detailed design of the borehole array that will heat the building through a Ground Source Heat Pump.
The Masterplan for the site encompasses all the other developments that are planned for the park in addition to the Flax Mill development. This includes playparks, new path surfaces, a permanent stage on the top lawn, and a renewable energy farm amongst many others. To fund the Masterplan we were invited by Fife Council to submit a bid through them to the UK Government Levelling Up Fund. The bid totalling nearly £5 million was submitted in August and we await a decision at the end of October. The priority laid down by the Board is to complete the development of Phase 2 of the campsite, a new service area at Silverburn Lodge and new café under the disused outdoor classroom before the start of construction work on the Flax Mill in April 2023.