In February plans appeared on Fife Council’s Planning Portal for a housing development on the Ged’s Mill site. This has been offered for sale for several years and is still owned by Collinswell Land. The developers applying for permission are SIPS Homes Scotland Ltd of Dalgety Bay.
In March a “Listed building consent for demolition of Listed building” application was made. Some local people say they received no notification of this and only heard about the plans for demolition recently.
“We object to the application because no attempt has been made to incorporate the listed doocot within the proposed development, and its demolition has not been justified.
“The rectangular ‘lectern’ doocot dates from the eighteenth century, and contained over 500 stone nesting boxes. It is said to have been connected with the Colinswell estate to the west. It was listed Category C in 1979, and has been on the National Buildings at Risk Register since 2007.
“The larger site appears to have been approved for housing in 2004, and much of the wider Alcan site to the west has been developed. It is not clear when the current applicants bought the site, but there have been two withdrawn applications for housing (2008), and one successful application for a care home (2012). It would be interesting to know what allowance was made for the doocot within the applications / approval. Unfortunately, the planning portal is currently showing no documents from these dates.”
Most of the remains of Ged’s Mill have disappeared including Ged’s Mill Dam and parts of the Kirkton Burn (now housing in Glebe Place) and also another doocot by the dam. Even the apostrophe has been taken away from the street name (photo below).
The proposed housing development will remove most of what remains. One existing section of the Kirkton Burn (currently hidden behind the high fence) is due to be visible, with two driveways on bridges.
The doocot has been neglected by owners over many years. Enlightened owners and developers elsewhere would regard this unusual (and increasingly rare) building as an asset that would attract housebuyers to the area.
Comments – objections or in support of this proposal – should be emailed by Thursday.
“It is unfortunate that so many doocots have disappeared over the years. However, they are also great survivors. It is frequently found that the doocot is the only remaining residual reminder of a great estate the rest of which has long before been wiped out by change.
This is possibly due to fact that they were often converted to other uses during the 19th century. Another possible reason for their survival may be associated with the old superstition that the demolition of a doocot would result in a death within the year in the family of the person responsible for its removal.”
“Fife Council Conservation Officer Matthew Price reckons they offer a “window into the past”.
“Each doocot tells a story of its time and place,” he reflects. “They were built using local materials, forms of construction and skills embodying traditions and history.
“Ultimately, doocots give an insight into former ways of life and add to the richness of our heritage and history.”