THE owners of the St Ninian's site near Kelty have ruled out the possibility of Citizen Spire being built on their land.

The former opencast coal mine had been suggested as a location when Dunfermline artist Ian Moir first outlined his idea for a large national monument, some 160 feet high, in 2017.

It came to light again recently when the owners of another large site, in Rosyth, said Citizen Spire could become a major tourist attraction as part of their masterplan.

It's now the most likely location after National Pride, who bought 976 acres at St Ninian's and Loch Fitty last year, said the huge structure didn't fit in with their vision for their land next to the M90 at Kelty.

A statement said they were aware of the "ambitious project" but added: "Unfortunately no early approach was made to the new owners for the possibility of including such a significant art form and, consequently, the new owners have proceeded with their own concept design for an eco-wellness and leisure park consistent with the Fife Council strategic development plan."

Technical director Andy Whitlock added: “The well advanced design masterplan regrettably would not now be consistent with an additional single tall structure which, we believe, would, overshadow the Charles Jencks land forms already in situ and which are intended to be retained in the development proposals.”

Backed by Fife Provost Jim Leishman, it's been suggested Citizen Spire could become West Fife's version of the Kelpies, attracting thousands of visitors every year.

The big idea is for a large pyramidal structure to be a focal point on the landscape and stand as a monument to citizenship in Fife.

At night the spire would be transformed into a flickering beacon, receiving video projections upon its exterior surface.

It would also have a viewing platform and have space inside for contemporary art and theatre.

The initial price tag was £10 million but the designs have been scaled back and the cost has come down.

Irene Bisset, chair of National Pride, said: “The concept masterplan for the St Ninian's and Loch Fitty development will be revealed to the public as soon as possible and will include areas for art forms, exhibition and educational spaces.

"We would welcome working with Ian Moir of Fire Station Creative, proponents of Citizen Spire, to develop art forms and installations that will blend with the site’s topography interweaving the human built environment and nature.”

Ian, the managing director of the arts hub on Carnegie Drive, confirmed: "I did write to them, at the prompting of (Fife MSP) Alex Rowley, and they declined the Citizen Spire idea.

"I don't think they were that hot on the idea, as it is a big structure, and there's nothing I can do about that.

"So St Ninian's is off the table."

The other possibility is land at Rosyth. The Press reported last month that there are plans for 200 houses, an hotel and country park on a site to the west of the M90.

Ian explained: "Prior to the pandemic I had a meeting with Bidwells, the agents of the Alfred Stewart Property Foundation who own land at Castlandhill.

"They've just recently made a pre-application enquiry to Fife Council and in it they made reference to the possibility of a public art structure, such as Citizen Spire.

"I don't want to step on anyone's toes but clearly Bidwells are thinking it could be built on the Castlandhill site.

"The project is not dead. I'm still up for it and haven't written it off. We'll just have to wait and see."

Despite ruling out any plans for Citizen Spire, National Pride gave their "full support" in January to the idea of a national memorial on their land to commemorate the thousands of Scots who were killed for being a witch.