A TRAIN manufacturing plant at the former Longannet Power Station is on track after Fife councillors approved plans to redevelop the site.

There are hopes that proposals from Spanish train manufacturing company Talgo to open a factory there could bring about the re-opening of the Alloa-Dunfermline railway line for passengers along with the creation of 1,000 direct jobs.

The bid approved at the Central and West Planning Committee was from Scottish Enterprise to redevelop the massive site, part of which would be used by the Spanish firm to build high-speed trains.

The Longannet site would be split into five development areas; the former coal yard and rail loop in Zone B would become the home of Talgo's plant if plans come to fruition.

Clackmannanshire Council also made representations as part of the planning decision process to say it was "broadly supportive" although the local authority was hoping to see consideration given to the "potential adverse impact associated with traffic generated" by the development in the Wee County.

Councillor Donald Balsillie was the Clacks representative on the Longannet Taskforce, established in the wake of the closure of the power plant in 2016.

He said: "The redevelopment of the Longannet site is likely to create new employment and economic opportunities in the local area and beyond, while also potentially acting as a catalyst for the redevelopment of other brownfield sites such as the former Kincardine Power Station site and the former Scottish Coal site at Castlebridge.

"These would all be of social and economic benefit to Clackmannanshire."

A report to the Fife Council committee said: "Consideration is being given to the extension of the existing electrification of the railway from Alloa to Longannet.

"The proposals would include the extension of the Glasgow-Alloa passenger services to a new station within Longannet.

"This would have benefits in reducing freight from the site on the road, provide sustainable public transport and make the site more attractive to prospective uses."

Cllr Balsillie added: "I met representatives of Talgo in Kincardine earlier this year to discuss their plans and highlighted the real opportunity that their development had in not just taking advantage of the strategic transport networks around the Kincardine and Clackmannanshire bridges, but unlocking the potential of an east-west rail link between Alloa and the ferry port at Rosyth."

The move was further welcomed by the Coalfields Regeneration Trust, who have been campaigning in the area since the closure of the power station.

CRT trustee Nicky Wilson said: "This decision, which will hopefully lead to Talgo building its new factory on the site on the edge of Kincardine – employing 1,000 people and supporting a further 5,000 jobs – is a massive boost to the local economy.

"The area has a ready supply of skilled labour and good transport links to the rest of the country, but communities have been badly affected by the closure of the coal-fired power station more than three years ago.

"The redevelopment of the site, including the Talgo factory, will help rejuvenate such communities and build on the work we do to support former mining areas."