Plans to transform an abandoned airfield could create a new tourist destination and village of up to 500 homes in the East Neuk of Fife.
A vision for Crail Airfield proposes the establishment of a settlement with an artisan village at its heart aimed at attracting tourists.
The community would be “physically distinct from” but economically part of the existing village of Crail, according to its planner.
As well as houses, it would include a hotel, holiday lodges, artists’ studios, a community centre and shops.
Planning consultant Emelda Maclean, of EMAC Planning, said: “The aim of the vision is to create a thriving, sustainable community, and tourism and employment will play a significant part in attracting visitors and retaining residents in the area.”
The airfield, operated as HMS Jackdaw by the Royal Navy during the Second World War, was vacated by the military 50 years ago and in recent years has been used for car boot sales and motoring events at Crail Raceway.
Many of the redundant buildings remain, including the headquarters, which could be converted into units for artists and crafts people.
As The Courier reported this month, Landvest, which specialises in buying and selling land, intends to submit a planning application to Fife Council for a mixed-use development of 50 hectares.
Its agent, Mrs Maclean, said that as well as various types of housing, the mixed-use development would create jobs in tourism and commerce.
She said: “The development will act as a focus for the creative community in the area and is intended to become a tourism destination for those travelling the Fife coastal tourist route.
“It is anticipated that the range of artisans will include a diverse range of food and non-food producers offering an attractive range of merchandise for sale to the public.
“During the summer season the opportunity exists to hold fair and market events on the village green in front of the buildings.”
The former campus area could be a residential area with a neighbourhood centre and a community hall in the old cinema and gym building.
A shop, village pub and, possibly, children’s nursery could be set around a village green and a further three residential neighbourhoods built where the barracks once stood and on greenfield land to the south.
Mrs Maclean said: “It is currently envisaged that around 400 to 500 new homes, including affordable housing, could form part of the proposal for the site’s regeneration, to make the development commercially viable.”
The airfield is category A-listed and she said a key part of the plan is to maintain its authenticity.
However, she stressed that the current proposal was indicative and will be developed and refined in light of feedback from Fife Council, Historic Scotland and residents.
East Neuk and Landward councillor Elizabeth Riches said people in Crail were concerned about the possibility of a separate settlement being created and the traffic that might bring.
She said: “People are asking whether this would be bolting on another village and how cohesion could be kept.
“Crail is a very good community and I’m sure residents would welcome new people but physical distance often makes that harder.”
She also pointed out the proposal was one of many made over the years for the airfield. Former owner Willie Robertson wanted to redevelop the extensive site, which was inherited by his sister Victoria after his death last year.
More than 100 people attended a recent community consultation exhibition in Crail and a further event is to be held on Wednesday January 28.