DEVELOPERS who want to regenerate Prestonhill Quarry believe they can create "something worthwhile" for Inverkeithing through a diving centre and 100 new homes.

The site has been in neglect for 40 years and during that time there have been four deaths at the quarry, leading to increased calls for something to be done.

Now, proposals for the site, beside the Fife Coastal Path, lodged by Prestonhill Developments Ltd are just as unique as the owners, who have close ties with the town.

In late 2016, Jim Brydie, a long-time resident of Spencerfield, and Alan Ockendon, a friend and former business associate, started to look at the quarry. After extensive investigation, the families of the two men have taken control of the standard security of the site.

Alan, director of Prestonhill Developments, who lives in Shetland, said: "I was in the fishing business before I retired and Jim became my bank manager and we've just kept up a friendship since then.

"We started doing Munros together but on a walk on the Fife Coastal Path, we went past the quarry that is just lying there.

"We thought, 'Why don't we have a bash at it?'!

"We knew it was going to take guys like us with a background in finance and if we didn't do it, then who would?

"We are both retired and now have some time. It's now two-and-a-half years later and we are still ploughing at it but we are satisfied we are now in a position to address the security issues and create something worthwhile for Inverkeithing."

In May 1973, Robert O'Neil fell to his death at the quarry, aged 12. Then, in August 2014, 18-year-old Cameron Lancaster, of Burntisland, also lost his life followed by 18-year-old John MacKay, of Kirkcaldy, in June 2015. Edinburgh school teacher Kelda Henderson died while diving at the site in July 2017.

Over the past two years, the company has consulted extensively to try to find a proposal which might meet with the approval of local residents.

Fife Council now have their hands on a pre-application submission and Prestonhill Developments are waiting for the planners' response.

Over the years, different companies have tabled proposals for new housing at the 35-acre site.

In 2002, a housebuilder applied to erect 280 homes but it was met with a storm of protest and the application was refused.

Before that, oanother firm sought permission for more than 500 houses.

Prestonhill Developments want to build 100 homes, which they say would essentially fund the entire project.

The central quarry section would be passed on to qualified professional sport divers for management as a diving centre and the eastern part of the site would be given to a not-for-profit organisation for a nominal price and retained as natural woodland area.

Alan added: "Provisional in-depth discussions have been conducted with suitably qualified people who have held an interest in a diving centre for some time, with a view to providing an outstanding leisure facility for both the local area and Scotland as a whole.

"The original plan for 280 houses in our opinion would be a gross over-development. This proposal is for in the region of 100 houses.

"The housing development will pay for everything else and is the only realistic way that all the necessary elements can ever be executed.

"We don't want to squeeze more money out of it, we want to do what's right for the area."