Fife boatyard could be refloated Published: 01 March, 2007
AFTER a difficult period, the industrial future of the defunct St Monans boatyard site has been secured.
Crucial moves have been made designed to guarantee that the former Miller (Methil) boatyard is preserved for maritime industry use.
An announcement on the site’s new owners could be released very soon. Liquidators were called into the beleaguered Miller firm in July last year, signalling the sorry end of an era for boatbuilding in Fife.
Since then, the accountancy firm Thompson Cooper was approached by a number of firms interested in taking over the site’s lease. However, not all of the bidders had an interest in using the yard grounds for maritime industry purposes.
After intervening to iron out legal issues surrounding the site, local councillor Mike Scott-Hayward is confident St Monans’ boatbuilding heritage has been safeguarded.
He said: “The yard’s lease is now held by the liquidator who would be quite rightly trying to sell the lease holding to the best benefit for them and their client.
“However, the harbour authority has since made it clear that the purpose of leasing the property is for ongoing maritime industry.
There were a number of interested parties, but that has narrowed as a result”.
It is understood negotiations with a potential new buyer for the yard are at an advanced stage but no deal has been rubber-stamped yet.
Councillor Scott-Hayward was unable to provide details of this negotiation but hinted he was hopeful there would be a resolution in the very near future.
He added: “A couple of boats have come to St Monans harbour for repair recently and while that is being done at the moment on an individual vessel basis, I think it gives us cause to think there is light at the end of the tunnel”
Speaking when the Miller firm went bust last year, crestfallen owner Bill Syvert said the result was “absolutely terrible”.
The boatyard was established by the Miller Family in the 1700s and thrived as the fishing industry boomed. However in 1992, the axe fell and 30 men were laid off. Just a year later, Mr Syvert resurrected the firm and secured a trickle of orders but the last new trawler left the yard slipway at the end of 2005.
He said: “I actually thought things were getting better but we were forced into a corner.”
Mr Syvert blamed market forces for the demise of the firm.
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