FIFE’s very own bestselling crime writer, Val McDermid, was a special guest of Silverburn Park in Leven as works got underway on the restoration of the B-listed former flax mill.
Fife Employment Access Trust (FEAT) has been working alongside Fife Council for several years to deliver the overall vision for Silverburn’s regeneration, which will bring a ‘unique’ community space.
The overall project will bring a visitor centre and community hub offering jobs, training, space for retail and creativity, alongside a hostel for visitors coming to the area on the new Levenmouth rail link and via the Fife coastal path.
Work on the flax mill redevelopment will take over two years to complete and is being led by Clark Contracts. FEAT said it is ‘optimistic’ that the new facility will be open during early 2026.
Dougie Saunders, chairperson of FEAT Trading CIC, was joined by the site manager of Clark Contracts, Stewart Ferguson, in leading Ms McDermid and a number of guests from the National Lottery Heritage Fund, Fife Council, Levenmouth reconnected programme, and others on a short tour inside the mill to describe the works ahead in more detail, followed by a tour of the walled garden.
Dougie commented, “This really is a milestone moment after so many years of planning, preparation and fundraising and everyone connected with the project is looking forward the day we can re-open the doors of the mill to the general public. It has been an incredible team effort to get to this stage, though there is still a massive amount of work and forward planning to do.”
Val added, “It’s great to see work starting on the flax mill project and I can’t wait to see the finished result. I’ve got very happy memories of this area and it’s a very exciting time for Levenmouth at the moment.
“The extension of the railway is going to make a terrific difference – it will open up this whole area to let people see what they’ve been missing, and I think there’s a lot here that people have been missing.”
Dougie concluded, “The café will hopefully do particularly well in the coming two years with so many construction staff on site needing fed and watered!”