OFFICERS at Fife Council have agreed proposals for a "multi-million pound" development at Rosyth Waterfront but can't seem to remember why land use was so restricted.

The admission comes after the Scarborough Muir Group (SMG) gained planning permission for a new warehouse and yard on a brownfield plot that's lain vacant for 20 years, with approval set to "kickstart" the development of the wider site.

The firm explained: "The development would represent a significant multi-million pound investment in the Rosyth area which would help to secure a range of new local employment opportunities."

SMG said the plan for plot one, off Barham Way in Rosyth Europarc, was "speculative" as it is for class six (storage and distribution) use and, while it is identified as employment land and promises a "significant" number of new jobs, the council said only class 4 (business) was allowed.

Dunfermline Press: And this is what the proposed new warehouse and yard at Rosyth Europarc could look like. And this is what the proposed new warehouse and yard at Rosyth Europarc could look like. (Image: SMG)

However, the local authority don't appear to know why that is as a report by the planning team conceded: "In consultation with Fife Council's policy and place team, it is unclear why the allocated site, which has been vacant since 2003, was to be restricted to class 4."

It added that the local authority's economic development team was also consulted and they too were "not aware" why proposed uses for the site were so limited.

The report said the "principle of development requires further consideration in light of this potential allocation conflict".

Despite this, SMG got the go-ahead for a 50,000 square foot warehouse on a 4.8 acre site, which will incorporate the new storage and distribution unit, offices and staff areas, new access, 47 parking spaces and an external yard, as well as landscaping and associated works.

The plot is part of the larger Queensferry One site, 120 acres of brownfield land in Rosyth which will be at the heart of the new Forth Green Freeport.

SMG pointed out that class 6 use had previously been allowed on the site and said: "The application proposals, whilst not a class 4 use, would quite clearly deliver a significant new employment use on the site."

Back in October, when the application was submitted, the "final occupier of the unit" was not known but the firm said they were in discussions with a number of interested parties.

In a report confirming that the plans had been approved, the council said: "The applicant has submitted marketing information which details that the site has been marketed for class 4 uses for a period in excess of 10 years, with no interest coming forward.

"The marketing report also confirms that whilst this application has been made on a speculative basis, there is currently demand for large class 6 properties within the central belt."

It added that the proposed class 6 use would be "appropriate" and agreed with the applicant that it would "likely kickstart the redevelopment of the wider area".

Land use has been a particularly thorny issue for SMG as their long-held ambitions for a mixed-use development at Rosyth Waterfront - they first tabled plans in 2006 - were blocked by the council who refused to rezone the site.

Back in 2014 they unveiled £500m plans for one of Scotland's largest urban regeneration schemes in an area spanning more than 130 acres, which they said would create up to 3,500 jobs.

The proposals included a business and employment park, hotel, a commercial zone, supermarket, leisure centre, restaurants, large stores, shops, cafes, bars, galleries, housing, walkway, woodland areas and waterfront gardens.

However in late 2016 during consultation on the council's new local development plan, which decides what can be built and where, the Scottish Government reporter recommended the land should not be changed to mixed use and should be kept as employment land only, leaving local councillor Mike Shirkie "incandescent with anger".