Design work to transform a derelict Fife flax mill into a visitor centre and community hub is now complete.
Project workers say the B-listed building at Silverburn Park in Leven will be like a “phoenix rising from the ashes” once multi-million pound building work begins.
The red brick property on the 27-acre estate once employed 200 people but has lain empty for years, with holes in the roof, boarded-up windows, disused livestock stalls and old farm machinery lying around.
Now the building has been made watertight and windproof thanks to a community fundraising drive.
Images of the hub’s new design have also been finalised and released following funding from the National Lottery, Fife Council and the Architectural Heritage Fund.
The is truly a story of the phoenix rising from the ashes.”
Project director Brian Robertston.
It will open in 2025 and will include a restaurant, craft studios, a backpackers’ hostel and exhibition space.
Visitor numbers at the park have jumped five-fold since the first lockdown in March.
More than 200,000 people visited last year.
In addition, local people have raised more than £22,700 towards the transformation project.
A further £2.5 million is needed to unlock more than £7.5m in grants.
Also in the last year, Silverburn’s campsite reopened, the cafe was turned into a takeaway and volunteers maintained the walled garden and woodland trails.
‘Profits are up’
Silverburn flax mill project director Brian Robertson is excited to see the developments unfold.
The numbers are astounding.”
“This is truly a story of the phoenix rising from the ashes,” he said.
“The day after lockdown in March the number of cyclists and walkers to the park increased five-fold and this year we have seen more than 200,000 people visit us.”
He said: “The numbers are astounding, as is the affection people have shown for the place.
“Profits are up at the Cottage Window Cafe, the glamping pods – when they were open – had a 64% occupancy and the campsite 34%.”
He added: “People came to the campsite from around Fife to decompress and unwind away from the stresses of the Covid-19 nightmare.”
Most of the work at the park is done by staff and volunteers of Fife Employment Access Trust.
Chief executive Duncan Mitchell said: “We are on track to deliver great things here at Silverburn but we need help to make it happen.
“This place can be even more amazing, we just need to keep the fundraising up.”