Traditional skills training on offer as part of Cupar’s £7 million facelift

Cupar's County Buildings, once the seat of local government in Fife, has had an extensive makeover
Cupar's County Buildings, once the seat of local government in Fife, has had an extensive makeover

A programme of training courses is due to begin shortly aimed at Cuparians who want to help spruce up their historic town centre.

The training, which gets underway on November 9, is being delivered as part of a multi-million pound project to improve Cupar’s conservation area, which began about three years ago.

It’s being carried out under CARS – Cupar Area Regeneration Scheme – which is being run alongside the Townscape Heritage Initiative with the aim of halting the rapid decay of some of Fife’s most iconic buildings.

The first session focuses on the conservation and repair of traditional shop fronts and the programme will continue into the new year with courses on topics ranging from repairing traditional windows to pointing.

They are targeted at property owners as well as contractors and professionals, as many of the buildings include privately rented flats that have fallen into a state of disrepair.

The scheme has already created a number of apprenticeships in traditional skills and a group of them recently had a tour of the historic Hutton Stone quarry in the Borders to learn about Scotland’s stone industry.

Among the buildings to have had a facelift under the regeneration project is the County Buildings, which has been freshly painted and part of it transformed into housing. Already tenants have moved into the units to the rear of the building – once the administrative centre for Fife – and more are soon to move into the converted west wing.

Another important landmarks to enjoy a fresh lease of life is the iconic pink Burgh Chambers, a B-listed building which is being rescued from the ‘at risk’ register by being transformed into a holiday let.

The work is being carried out by Fife Historic Buildings Trust in conjunction with Fife Council, to a design created by Cupar-based Arc Architects.

It’s expected to be ready for use by next autumn.

In total, the Cupar CARS/THI programme will cost £7 million over its five-year lifespan. As well as refurbishing some of Fife’s most historic landmarks, it will also preserve the streets and closes in the town centre and offers a building repair grant scheme to property owners.

Fiona Stenke, project officer with Fife Historic Buildings Trust, said: “The training programme is for everyone with an interest in the conservation or repair of historic and traditional buildings, from contractors and professionals to homeowners and the wider community. The training will be delivered by experienced craftspeople and consultants and each event will include opportunities for discussion and networking.”

To book, email Daniel.Laing@fife.gov.uk