HeraldScotland:

HELLO and welome to AM Business Briefing, as National Pride has upped its plans to repurpose a former opencast mine site as an eco-therapy destination.

The social enterprise Community Interest Company has expanded its proposed development at St Ninians and Loch Fitty in Fife, with the purchase of Thornton Wood from Hargreaves Land Ltd.

The organisation proposes to repurpose and rejuvenate the former St Ninians open cast mine site to deliver an eco-therapy wellness and leisure park. The original site of 376 hectares (930 acres) was purchased from Hargreaves Land in March 2021 and the purchase of Thornton Wood adds a further 18.84 hectares (46.55 acres) to the already huge land area.  

Located next to junction 4 of the M90, near the villages and communities of Kelty and Kingseat, the combined 976-acre site will aim to promote health and wellness in mind and body, rejuvenation of spirit and mental resilience whilst at the same time delivering an exciting leisure, entertainment and tourism destination.

HeraldScotland: The 'Walnut Whip' structureThe 'Walnut Whip' structure

Early concept proposals include accommodation units, a wellness spa complex on Loch Fitty, a technology park amongst areas set aside for guest entertainment. Buildings of innovative design, sensitively blended amongst landscaped bio-diverse ecology sanctuaries, will use the existing landscape contours to minimise any impact on existing wildlife in the development’s construction.

New observation areas on the former Fife Earth Project landform structures, created by artist Charles Jencks, and known locally as the “Walnut Whips”, will provide guests with views over the landscape. Use of renewable energy technology will be sympathetic to the natural environment and is part of National Pride’s commitment to the climate emergency, it said.

National Pride will incorporate the aims of the Fife Council Strategic Plan, and "at the same time proving that rejuvenation of redundant land can be environmentally friendly".

HeraldScotland:

The development’s aim is to bring considerable benefits to the local community including creating employment opportunities and supporting local businesses. There is a commitment to reinvest 10 per cent of National Pride’s net profits into community projects.

Irene Bisset, of National Pride (St Ninians) Ltd, said: “Our plans are always under review and are maturing to deliver a project that is beneficial to the area in terms of employment and increasing the local community’s economic strength.”


Distillery scales up production

The Isle of Bute Gin distillery plans to scale up production and move to a bigger site, having seen high levels of demand with the return of tourists and day-trippers during the summer.

Opened in 2020, the small-batch gin distillery specialises in using local botanicals, and even oyster shells, to flavour its offerings.

Read the full story.


Perth-based energy giant wins bank backing for windfarm

SSE has won backing from financiers for a £3 billion phase of a windfarm project in a success that underlines the appeal of the sector to investors, although this hasn’t provided the expected boost to jobs in Scotland.

It said it had secured the financing required for the third phase of the Dogger Bank windfarm which it is developing with international oil majors Equinor and Eni.

Read the full story.