Plans to demolish the dilapidated former Co-op building have been lodged, sparking hope of a major town centre renewal.
The once popular department store in Albany Gate, Glenrothes along with the adjoining former Forum Hotel building, both of which have stood empty, since 2012, are included in a formal planning proposal submitted by LaSalle Investment Management, the company who look after the day-today running of the Kingdom Centre for owners Mars Pension Fund.
Should the demolition be approved, it will initially make way for car parking and landscaping, forming the first phase of what would later become a larger redevelopment of that end of the town centre.
“The proposal is a straightforward application for demolition but forms part of a longer term strategy that hopes to redevelop and regenerate this part of the town centre as a phased approach to investment and removing part of what is a decaying vacant building,” LaSalle state in documents included in its application.
The news has been welcomed by Glenrothes Area Futures Group (GAFG), who have lobbied for several years for a solution to be found the regeneration of Glenrothes town centre.
“This is welcomed news and Lasalle must be congratulated for breaking the deadlock regarding the Co-op building stalemate,” said Ron Page, from GAFG.
“We met with Lasalle officials some months ago and their plans for that end of the town are very encouraging and are something that, in principle, we would support.”
Until 2016, CIS/AXA had retained the lease for the site, which had thwarted attempts by Fife Council and others to offer a redevelopment solution for one of the oldest parts of the town centre.
The town’s councillors in January 2014 agreed to make the future of the former Co-op building, which first opened in 1964, a priority, but have had little subsequent success.
The demolition of the Forum building is not expected to pose any problem, having already had the majority of the internal fittings removed.
However, demolition of the three storey Co-op structure would require careful handling because of extensive amounts of asbestos within the dilapidated building’s wall cladding.
Discussions have also taken place with former town artist, Malcolm Robertson, with regard to the removal and preservation of his Life Cycle mural, which was erected in 1982.
The large ceramic tile artwork, is currently fixed to the outer wall of the former Co-op building facing into Albany Gate.
It’s understood that consideration is already being given to its relocation or use with any new development.