Queensferry One: Breathing new life into a historic naval base

Jun 18, 2024

Queensferry One, located in Rosyth on the northern bank of the Firth of Forth, has transformed from a historic military hub into a pivotal development site within the Forth Green Freeport. This rejuvenated industrial zone is poised to become a powerhouse of innovation and growth, particularly in Scotland’s burgeoning renewable energy sector.

From Naval Heritage to Industrial Innovation

Queensferry One’s storied past as a naval dockyard began in the early 1900s, supporting the Royal Navy’s operations throughout both World Wars. The Rosyth Dockyard played a crucial role in shipbuilding, repair and refitting, with its expansive dry docks and cranes becoming iconic landmarks. After the decline of naval activities, the site shifted focus, adapting to the needs of the modern industrial economy.

In recent years, Queensferry One has embraced its role as a hub for new industries. The shift from military to civilian use has paved the way for extensive redevelopment, positioning the site as a strategic asset within the Forth Green Freeport.

The Role of Scarborough Muir Group in Queensferry One’s Transformation

A driving force behind the redevelopment of Queensferry One has been Scarborough Muir Group (SMG), a 50:50 joint venture between the Yorkshire-based property developer, Scarborough Group International, and Inverkeithing-based contractor, Muir Group. Since acquiring the site in the late 1990s, SMG has been instrumental in transforming the former naval dockyard into an oven-ready development site.

Following planning permission for enabling works in 2003, SMG embarked on an extensive land remediation strategy to prepare the site for development. This ambitious project included the challenging task of demolishing a bomb-proof bunker that had stored fuel for naval ships during wartime. The bunker, comprising over one million tonnes of reinforced concrete, was meticulously broken up using explosives. The resulting material was repurposed as hardcore for various infrastructure projects throughout Fife, showcasing a sustainable approach to redevelopment.

The comprehensive remediation works were completed in early 2023, laying the groundwork for the creation of more than 1.2 million square feet of employment space across 120 acres of land.

A Strategic Gateway to Renewable Opportunities

With the designation of Special Tax Site status under the Forth Green Freeport, which became effective from 12 June 2024, Queensferry One is ideally positioned to attract a diverse range of businesses, particularly those in the renewable energy and advanced manufacturing sectors. The Freeport’s incentives, including tax reliefs and streamlined customs processes, alongside the site’s oven-ready status, provide an attractive proposition for companies looking to invest in Scotland’s industrial and economic future.

Simon McCabe, Chief Executive at Scarborough Group, said:

“Scotland’s push towards a net-zero future is accelerating and, with significant renewable energy projects slated for development, the demand for high-quality, strategically-located industrial and logistics space is at an all-time high. Queensferry One offers unparalleled opportunities for businesses to establish a presence within the Forth Green Freeport, providing a flexible accommodation options tailored to their operational needs.”

Spanning over 120 acres, Queensferry One boasts ample room for development, offering flexibility and space for businesses to grow and innovate. With its proximity to the Forth’s deep water access points, and excellent transport links including rail and motorway connections, the site is primed for companies in the renewables and manufacturing sectors.

A Vision for the Future

Dame Susan Rice DBE, Chair of Forth Green Freeport, commented:

“We see Queensferry One as a key part of our vision for the strategic development of the Forth Green Freeport. The site’s transformation from a naval base to a commercial powerhouse underscores the dynamic economic landscape of Scotland. We are excited to be working with Scarborough Muir Group to leverage its strategic location and extensive infrastructure to attract investment, foster job creation and drive sustainable development across the region.”

The inclusion of Queensferry One in the Forth Green Freeport initiative brings a wealth of opportunities not only for businesses but also for the local community. The expected influx of investment and development is set to create significant employment opportunities, reinvigorating the local economy and fostering long-term growth.

The strategic location of Queensferry One offers businesses direct access to the vibrant energy sector in Scotland. With the ongoing development of offshore wind farms and other renewable energy projects in the North Sea, the site provides an ideal base for companies looking to capitalise on Scotland’s commitment to renewable energy and sustainable practices.

Simon McCabe added:

“Our focus is on providing a platform where businesses can thrive in a supportive and innovative environment. The combination of Queensferry One’s rich history, strategic location and Freeport benefits creates a compelling case for companies seeking to relocate or expand their operations in Scotland.”

As Queensferry One continues to evolve, it stands as a testament to the enduring spirit of adaptation and growth. From its roots as a naval dockyard to its future as a linchpin in one of Scotland’s two Green Freeports, Queensferry One is set to play a pivotal role in the country’s journey towards a sustainable and prosperous future.

For more information, visit www.queensferryone.co.uk or follow Queensferry One on LinkedIn and X (formerly Twitter).

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