Community Council proposals for the burn in the Toll Park
The Cot Burn runs along the north side of the Toll Park, and so is sometimes called the Toll Burn. (After it is culverted under the Cowdenbeath Rd it is joined by other burns from the west Binn and is known as the Kirkton Burn. The Kirkton Burn is diverted into the attractive SUDS at Kirkton Rd.)
Local residents have expressed concerns about the Cot Burn and its appearance in recent years. The Community Council engaged a landscape architect, UrbanPioneers, to assess and come up with proposals to improve the amenity value and biodiversity potential along the banks at Cot Burn, concentrating on the south side. Landowners at the south side are the Toll Community Centre at the east end and Fife Council elsewhere in the park.
We have some funding set aside for our proposed project from Fife Council, and we have recently had a conditional offer of additional grant funding from Fife Environmental Trust. The next stages include applying for Planning Permission and engaging contractors, subject to satisfactory quotations.
Initially our proposals included watercourse works to attempt to partly re-naturalise the burn, which runs in a ditch with steep sides where there is some bank erosion. However, it has proved prohibitively difficult and expensive to do any watercourse works, as Planning Permission would not be given without a full Flood Risk Assessment (FRA). Therefore, we have reluctantly had to remove all the watercourse works, including a viewing platform, from our proposals. (A viewing platform could be added in future years if the considerable funds for this could be identified.)
Public consultation at Burntisland Primary School (Christmas 2019) and the Toll Community Centre (2020) and an online survey (now closed) was overwhelmingly positive. Thank you. One dividing issue was how much of the length of the burn should be fenced. As we will not now be able to do any bank re-profiling or other watercourse work, we have decided to remove the existing ugly fencing and replace it entirely, but with a more open fence with gates to access the burn area for on going vegetation management and litter picking.
We are proposing to add a new path and access to the park at the north east end that will provide an off road route to the school, community centre, playing fields and park. A seating and natural play area will be added along the verge by the playing fields and we hope this will provide a space for outdoor education for the school, nursery and after school club, as well as somewhere for people of all ages to relax and enjoy the nature along the burn side. We propose to plant additional native trees and try to create more diversity amongst the plants along the burn to attract a wider range and number of birds and other wildlife.
SEPA has clarified that the Cot Burn should not be contaminated by any industrial pollution and the pipes carrying treated water from Whinnyhall water treatment works at the east Binn do not run in the burn channel.
This little strip of burn side is a potential community asset: a place to relax and to learn, and a home for nature.
This shows the original extent of the Cot Burn from near the current golf course clubhouse to where it runs under the Cowdenbeath Road to become the Kirkton Burn after it is joined by other culverted burns from the west side of the Binn. The Kirkton Burn is now diverted into the SUDS by the ‘Alcan estate’ and reaches the sea from the old Seamill Pond by a pipe to the west breakwater between Ross Point and Colinswell.