Plans to dismantle Dunfermline’s rusting gasometers are on hold — because they may be historically important.
Historic Environment Scotland is undertaking a review of SGN sites.
The massive Dunfermline gasholders, viewed by many as an eyesore, are among the earliest surviving examples of their building type in Scotland and are heralded as “an iconic reminder of Fife’s industrial heritage”.
But the thought the unsightly tanks may be listed, protected and subsequently stay is a “significant barrier” to regeneration of the Grange Road site, according to the local MP.
Dunfermline and West Fife politician Douglas Chapman has called the proposal a “step too far”.
Mr Chapman said: “I can see the value in retaining historically important industrial buildings.
“But suggesting that a rusting, useless gas storage tank should be kept for historical reasons seems a step too far.
“SGN has no use for them, and they’ll not be used in the future.
“This is land that sits on the edge of an existing industrial estate and there is some room for expansion and job creation if the gasometers were removed.”
The site, next to Elgin industrial estate, is allocated as employment land.
A masterplan for more than 2,000 houses has also been submitted for adjacent land.
Gas distribution giant SGN has offered to conduct detailed heritage recordings as an alternative to listing.
A report by the company stated: “If the holder is listed, this will mean a significant barrier to the regeneration and development of the Grange Road area.
“There are already examples of this type of gasholder listed in Scotland, so it seems unproductive to duplicate this.”
Mr Chapman added: “I’d like to hear from constituents for their opinion about this before a final decision is made.”
A spokesperson for Historic Environment Scotland said: “As part of a review of their estate, SGN requested we undertake an assessment of their gasholders to help identify which structures may be of special interest for listing.
“The two gasholders in Dunfermline were identified as being amongst the earliest surviving examples of their building type in Scotland and are an iconic reminder of Fife’s industrial heritage.
“We are continuing to engage with SGN, Fife Council and local communities.”
Proposals are currently available through the HES heritage portal on www.historicenvironment.scot/ where comments can be left before a final decision is taken.