The papermaking industry is to return to Leslie, after the announcement that almost 100 jobs are to be created.
Northumberland papermaker Fourstones Paper Mill Co Ltd is poised to restore operations at the Fettykil Mill, following an £800,000 Regional Selective Assistance (RSA) award from Scottish Enterprise.
However, the news came on the day Dunfermline was dealt a jobs blow with the loss of 250 posts at the Somerfield distribution depot in the town.
Fourstones acquired the Leslie site and two existing paper machines at the former Smith Anderson site which closed in 2006 with the loss over over 100 jobs earlier this year and is currently overhauling machinery at the plant.
A recruitment drive for the 95 posts that will created over the next five years starts this week and it is hoped production will start later in the summer.
Peter Duxbury, managing director of Fourstones, said, “Fourstones has a long, rich heritage of papermaking in the north of England and we are proud to be able to reintroduce this industry to Leslie.
“We have been working on these plans for over a year with support from the Scottish Enterprise, Fife Council and the administrator of the site, KPMG, and are delighted that our plans are now under way.”
Fourstones intends to use locally-sourced waste paper as a raw material something no other paper mill in Scotland still does to manufacture recycled paper products for away-from-home tissue and packaging markets.
The use of locally-sourced waste paper and the use of electricity generated from on-site water turbines will give the operation strong green credentials, allowing Fourstones to publicise the environmental soundness of the business.TraditionalScottish Enterprise chief executive Lena Wilson, “This RSA award will bring a traditional industry back to Leslie, creating new jobs and giving an economic boost to the local area.
“Fourstones should also be commended for its strong green credentials. The fact that the company plans to recycle local waste paper should set a good example for the rest of the industry in Scotland.”
Fife Council leader Peter Grant said, “The fact that Fourstones is bringing papermaking back to Fettykil is terrific news for Fife.
“Leslie has a long and proud history as one of Fife’s papermaking burghs and I’m sure everyone in the town will be pleased to see that tradition being rekindled.”
Mr Grant added, “Fourstones has worked hard over the last two years to bring this all together and help provide a major boost to the local economy.
“We are delighted that, with the support of Fife Council and Scottish Enterprise, the company is now moving to the first stage of re-starting production at the site, and are committed to doing everything possible to support Fourstones in taking this investment forward.”FantasticLocal MP Lindsay Roy said, “This is fantastic news. This is a traditional papermaking town and it’s wonderful to think that the industry is to be revived.
“There are many people in the community with valuable experience in papermaking and I know that this was one of the criteria Fourstones considered in re-establishing the business.”
The town’s MSP, Tricia Marwick, said, “This is one of the largest ever RSA grants given by the Scottish Government and it is great news for Leslie that the papermaking town will be making paper again.
“This project has been a long time coming to fruition and I would like to congratulate Fourstones, Fife Council and Scottish Enterprise for this significant investment.”
“I look forward to the jobs being created over the summer.”
Fife MSP Claire Baker said, “This is positive news for local jobs and the economy. Fife has great potential for investment and I am pleased that this is increasingly being recognised.”
The closure of Fettykil with the loss of 106 jobs brought almost 150 years of papermaking by Smith Anderson in the town to an end.
“The company had been struggling for some time and had shed 70 jobs in August 2005, but this failed to save the operation on the banks of the River Leven and it went into receivership the following June.