£2 million project unveiled to upgrade County Buildings

editorial image

FIFE Council has confirmed its plans to re-vamp Cupar’s historic County Buildings to the tune of more than £2 million.

A three-phase project is now under way as part of a Fife-wide office rationalisation programme that aims to save the local authority around £2.6 million a year in running costs and raise a further £12 million through the sale of redundant buildings.

Social work staff currently based at Castlehill will be re-located to the County Buildings from March and talks are ongoing with other prospective occupants - including, it is understood, Cupar Police.

Although there are plans to sell the Castlehill building, Fife Council has stressed that it is working with the various user groups to ensure that they are not left in the lurch.

REPAIR

At present, a total of 139 staff work in the County Buildings, and when the refurbishment is complete it will provide accommodation for 221.

First on the agenda is a £250,000 project to repair the roof of the building, while a planning application has been lodged seeking permission for a £1.85 million refurbishment to the rear in order to form the main office accommodation.

Full lift access will also be provided for the first time to ensure that the building is fully compliant with the Disability Discrimination Act.

The final part of the project will involve upgrading the local office facilities in line with the standard design being introduced throughout Fife, and will include self-service points, semi-private meeting spaces and private rooms for people who wish to discuss more sensitive matters.

OPPORTUNITY

Just over two years ago, Fife Council was criticised for spending £200,000 on improvements to the County Buildings, but Jonathon Miles, of the corporate asset and management service, insists that the latest investment will be money well spent.

“These plans underline the council’s commitment to the future of the County Buildings,” he explained.

“It represents a positive and sustainable opportunity both from the point of view of the historic environment and the local community.”

The roof strengthening work is due to finish in March, while the office refurbishment will begin shortly afterwards and run until summer 2013.

Mr Miles added that disruption to staff and the public would be kept to a minimum for the duration of the work.