AN INQUIRY will take place next month to decide if Fife Council are allowed to buy derelict land in Dalgety Bay.

The local authority are seeking the go-ahead for a compulsory purchase order (CPO) for a site in Hillend and Donibristle Industrial Estate that's not been used for a decade.

They submitted paperwork last August to buy and develop 1.32 hectares at Beech Way but the current owners have objected and said the move is "unnecessary" as they're pursuing their own development plans.

The matter is now with the Scottish Government's planning and environmental appeals division and a 'virtual' inquiry will be held on April 25 and 26.

A report on behalf of the local authority explained: "The council proposes to remediate the site, comprising the removal of the existing concrete hardstanding and any associated site remediation and the provision of a new vehicular access and associated utilities including water, sewage, electricity and telecoms.

"The council would then undertake a proactive and visible marketing campaign of the site to identify suitable employment occupiers."

The landowner is United UK Propco 2 Ltd, a development company with its registered office in Jersey, and the plot includes the site of the former Maxwell building which was demolished by the previous owners in 2013.

The site has been empty since then and on the council’s vacant and derelict land audit for more than 20 years.

They say that buying the Beech Way site and improving it would be "in the public interest and for public benefit" as it would help attract businesses and employment.

The council pointed to the success of the small industrial units at West Way, which have proved popular, with a second phase on the way.

It added that the owners are interested in a retail development at the site but this is "not likely to be supported" as the land is zoned for business, industrial, storage and distribution uses.

But a statement on behalf of United UK Propco 2 Ltd, who bought the site in 2018, said the council's arguments are "inaccurate and misleading" and "fails to provide full information on the circumstances of the site and the surrounding area".

It added that the company had its own development ideas and that granting the CPO would prevent them from taking them forward.

A pre-examination meeting was held in February and the Scottish reporter will carry out a site visit before the inquiry.