The sale of the Pilmuir Works Building was recently completed. The building is now owned by Byzantian Developments Ltd, a company formed in April 2017. The two Directors have previously been involved in many other developments including North Bridge Lofts, a very impressive development in the old Scotsman Building in Edinburgh.
The new owners have submitted a Proposal of Application Notice (PAN) to Fife Council, and their proposals for public consultation are detailed here.
Please go along to their Public Exhibition on Thursday 10th August 2pm-8pm at the Carnegie Leisure Centre. They are consulting with two local community councils, Milesmark & Baldridge and Central Dunfermline and will be following up with them after the public exhibition.
Friends of Pilmuir Works will be attending the public exhibition and are keen to learn how we can help ensure this delivers a great outcome for Dunfermline.
Friends of Dunfermline
As Friends of Dunfermline, we are still exploring other ideas for regeneration of the centre, and hope to have more news soon.
The four months since our Public Meeting in Carnegie Leisure Centre (Dec 2016) have flown past and we thought it was time to give our supporters an update!
Pilmuir Works sale
The Pilmuir Works site sale went to closing in March and is now under offer. Due to commercial confidentiality, we do not know anything about the developer or their plans. The developer is talking to Fife Council; Robin Presswood (Head of Economy, Planning and Employability Services) has said that their ideas are exciting. We will be delighted with any positive change and are keen to be a link between the developer and the community.
What have we learned?
Dunfermline has many people enthusiastic to make it a better place for all to live and work. Our active group expanded to 20 after the Public Meeting and our petition expanded to over 650 signatures.
We had a site visit which both inspired us with the potential…
…and showed us how much work would be needed.
We met with government sponsored groups for advice, including the Scottish Land Fund, and now understand much more about the types of funding available and how to go about accessing it. Our priority evolved to applying for funding to support feasibility work to help us select the best of the many ideas that had been put forward. This is now on hold due to the purchase of the building.
The purchase of the Pilmuir Works site has not damped our enthusiasm. We want to make the centre of Dunfermline more vibrant – a place we can all be proud of. We are now following a two-pronged approach. We are keen to work with the Pilmuir Works developer to understand what opportunities there are to be involved and potentially to use a part of the site for community benefit. In parallel, we are exploring other opportunities in the town and are renaming ourselves Friends of Dunfermline to match our expanded scope.
We have just done a review of progress made since we set up Friends of Pilmuir Works.
Although we still have a very long way to go, we have done quite a lot.
OurLand Festival Fife had its finale in Dunfermline and the issue of the derelict Pilmuir Works was raised in discussion.
The owner of Pilmuir Works went into administration.
Friends of Pilmuir Works was set up by group of concerned local people. A Facebook page and website were created to reach out to the wider community. We made contact with various experts and bodies to begin to develop ideas and plans.
November 2016 Friends of Pilmuir Works was formally constituted. Plans for public meeting were initiated with flyers and posters as well as online promotion.
Public meeting with over 80 in attendance. FoPW speakers and guest experts initiated discussion around options and examples. Thereafter followed an ideas gathering session with high levels of engagement by the audience in both.
January 2017 Planning meeting saw our activist base double and new sub-groups set up to deal with: (1) Funding & Legal, (2) Needs & Ideas, (3) Petitioning and (4) Communications. A site visit allowed us to see Pilmuir Works in great detail and better understand both the levels of dereliction and potential for different areas. Fundraising activities were initiated.
Development of funding applications have been progressed. There have been further contact and meetings with advisers, agencies and others to further advance our plans.
Fife Council Archives hold Dean of Guild (forerunner to Building Control) drawings relating to Pilmuir Works. Studying them reveals not only more information about the history of the site but also the flexibility of the building design.
Most of the drawings are by architect T. Hyslop Ure (or others in his office) and date from the 1890s. They are predominantly concerned with the last big expansion on site, pushing the footprint southwards to meet the railway line. Three major elements of this are shaded pink below. The red line denotes buildings demolished to allow this to happen.
In terms of understanding how the building is constructed, there are ‘sections’ which show this detail.
These are just a small selection of the drawings in the archives. Overall, they are going to be very useful as we go forward.
Exceeding all expectations, our first public meeting had around 100 in attendance. Even after two deliveries of extra seats, some people unfortunately had to stand. With guest speakers to set the scene, the meeting also gathered ideas from those attended to feed into what happens next.
5th December was a cold, dark evening in Dunfermline. We had called the meeting to broaden out what we are doing into the wider community and held it in the Carnegie Leisure Centre, where we could glance out the window and see our subject opposite. It’s never easy to guess how many people might come along to events such as these but, we knew there were quite strong feelings in town about Pilmuir Works.
The meeting itself comprised two distinct parts. The first was a series of guest speakers to help set the scene and to bring examples and inspiration from what is going on elsewhere. After that came the ideas session, where it was over to the audience to pitch in with ideas for what could be done with the Pilmuir site.
Grant Buttars opened the meeting with some initial remarks, outlining how the programme for the evening and introducing the guest speakers. First up was Ian Ferguson. Ian outlined what we, as Friends of Pilmuir Works, have been doing and some of the immediate tasks ahead. Next on was local historian, Hugh Walker, who skillfully managed to condense nearly 200 years of the history of the site into just over 10 minutes (with illustrations).
Our third speaker was architect Malcolm Fraser, who inspired the meeting with examples of buildings and community enterprises elsewhere elsewhere. He drew parallels between Pimuir and the Rockfield Centre in Oban. Alongside Malcolm, we heard from Sandra Macaskillwho has worked as a consultant on a number of community buyout projects.
We then heard from Karl Dorozenko, Development, Planning and Regeneration Manager for East Ayrshire. He told us about a decidedly different approach they have taken towards town centre regeneration in Kilmarnock, specifically a conscious decision to favour the reuse of older buildings for new purposes, which he illustrated with many examples.
After the speakers and associated Q&A, it was over to Jean Ferguson to coordinate the ideas session. The ideas themselves were diverse and plentiful and we are still pulling them together from the many flipchart pages and post it notes. We will post more details once we have done this.
The evening concluded with everyone very enthused and various spontaneous conversations took place before we left the building. Many signed our petition as they left. Numerous petition blanks were also taken by people to get others to sign. This is one of the things we will be concentrating on next, so watch out for us out in the street and knocking on doors.
As we move into 2017, we will be calling further meetings to develop ideas further and discuss what we do next, so look out for announcements!
Let’s turn Pilmuir Works into something that Dunfermline really needs, something that will enhance our town centre and save one of our important historic sites.
Come along and exchange ideas and hear about ideas for what Pilmuir Works could become. But this isn’t just about us telling you our ideas. We need yours too. A community-driven solution is the best way to break the stalemate that has allow Pilmuir to decay into its current state.
There’s going to be a bit of inspiration from guest speakers who will help set the scene. However the main part of the meeting will be about gathering ideas about how we, as a community, can work together to pull a plan of action together.