Bid to save Fife library from closure thrown into doubt

Leslie Bain and Ian Robertson outside Glenwood Library.
Leslie Bain and Ian Robertson outside Glenwood Library.

The future of library provision in the west of Glenrothes remains uncertain after tenants’ groups bidding to save the service put plans on hold.

The shock decision was made at a heated board meeting of Glenrothes Area Residents Federation (GARF) with those behind the bid to take over the running of Glenwood library.

The facility is one of 16 Fife Council had agreed to close following budget cuts forced upon Fife Cultural Trust.

GARF and West Glenrothes Tenants Association has already had its bid to take on the building, with future plans ot create a community hub for the area, accepted by the Trust and ratified by Fife Council’s executive committee.

But a draft lease has now thrown that move into doubt.

“A number of serious issues over the condition of the library building have now come to light,” said Leslie Bain, chairman of the West Glenrothes group.

“We’ve been working on this bid for a year and yet we are only now being made aware of the state of the building. It’s very disappointing.

“Consideration must be given to whether we continue our bid or walk away.”

The group’s request for a condition report as to the current the state of the building, will only be offered at the point of hand over, council officers have confirmed, a situation that Mr Bain said was “absurd and unacceptable.’’

“We are not going to agree to a lease only to then find that we will be then liable for major repairs to that building.

“There are major concerns over the state of the wiring and lighting,” said Mr Bain.

Concerns were echoed by fellow GARF member Ellen Huggan.

She said: “Frankly it’s not a suitable situation for a volunteer board to be signing up to a commercial project with so many repairs needing to be done, especially as we don’t have the necessary funds to cover those repairs.”

The group is now in negotiation with council officers in an effort to find a solution to the impasse.

As library staff prepare to close the building for the last time on Friday, the hope of a seamless hand over has now gone, and a period of uncertainty over the building’s future remains.

“It’s a disappointing situation, but I’m still hopeful that by working together, council officers and volunteers will reach agreement over the library’s future,” said Cllr Bill Brown, chairman of Glenrothes Area Committee.