MCGILL'S owners Sandy and James Easdale have emerged as the driving force behind a huge £250 million 850-home housing development.

The business and property tycoons are in partnership with building firm Advance Construction to transform a 130-acre former papermill site in Glenrothes.

The development, featuring 850 new homes, a care home, retirement village, commercial, retail and leisure space, has been approved by Fife Council.

It is expected to cost £250m and take a decade to complete.

Top design and planning agency Barton Willmore is involved in the development along with Advance Construction - both of which are behind the £100m blueprint for 400 homes at the former IBM site in Greenock, which is owned by the Easdales.

The development will be carried out over the next decade and is already said to be attracting major interest from leading house builders.

Sandy Easdale said: “We’re delighted that councillors have given the go-ahead to the regeneration of the former Tullis Russell paper mill site.

"This development has the power to transform Glenrothes and breathe new life into the local economy.

“We forecast that the development will cost in the region of £250million, creating 300 jobs during construction and 800 permanent jobs once complete.

"We want to see lasting benefits to the region from this development and the improvements to the road network will be positive for existing residents and businesses.

"We have already had five housebuilders from across the UK expressing serious interest in the site and we expect this number to increase over the next few months.

“This is going to be an exceptional development with great transport and leisure options and there is great anticipation about what it will deliver for the region’s bright future.”

The Glenrothes project is one of a number of joint ventures between the parties, including the similar plan for the former IBM site in Spango Valley also unveiled this week.

Seamus Shields, owner of Advance Construction, said: “We’re proud that we have received planning permission from Fife Council and our appreciation goes to the local authority and other stakeholders in assisting us to create a vision that will benefit Glenrothes from years to come.

“Advance Construction has extensive experience in delivering large-scale projects and this is one that we’re excited about getting underway knowing the demand that exists for new homes and jobs in the area. We remain committed to working with local residents and businesses as the construction gets underway and we start to deliver the concept that promises to rejuvenate this landmark site.”