Fife councillors give green light to progress industrial hub project at former mine

Fife - Westfield Energy Park   L1949-04Proposals to develop a new energy park and industrial estate at the site of the former Westfield open cast mine in Fife have been granted planning permission in principle.

Under plans submitted by Durham-based Hargreaves Services, the 423-hectare site would be transformed into a major new industrial hub including a solar energy park and other energy-related work, waste recovery and recycling unit, light industrial units and agricultural greenhouses with as many as 2,500 new jobs in the pipeline.

The development could also potentially see the reactivation of a disused rail line, though councillors were told no guarantees could be offered at such an early stage in the process.

Westfield masterplanNeil Crooks, chair of Fife Council’s central area planning committee, said: “The potential presented is significant for us.

“When you’re on site and have seen what can be done then this is something that we should be really excited about.”

The Westfield site has lain dormant since 1998 having previously been mined for more than 40 years.

Hargreaves predicts that its regeneration plans could create around 1,000 construction jobs over a 10-year period, with the completed complex sustaining in the region of 1,500 full time posts.

Despite Monday’s decision, David Alexander, Fife Council co-leader, suggested that the scale of the development means there are no guarantees every aspect will come to fruition, adding subsequent planning applications will reveal more information.

“All the low hanging fruit is in the detail,” he said, before adding that he expected the development to generate interest from business and workers from across Fife and the rest of Scotland.

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