Healthy interest in buying up centres

0311043 SSFF dunnikier oap centre 'OAP Centre at the X of Dunnikier Road and Lauder Road, Kirkcaldy
0311043 SSFF dunnikier oap centre 'OAP Centre at the X of Dunnikier Road and Lauder Road, Kirkcaldy
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COMMUNITY groups across the Kingdom have shown a ‘healthy interest’ in buying up some of Fife Council’s ageing halls and centres, the local authority has said.

Councillors heard on Tuesday that interest from community groups in purchasing the Council’s nine halls and centres that have been put up for community ownership has been widespread, with more than 134 information packs requested.

Community services boss Joe Fitzpatrick told the housing and communities committee that 40 organisations had approached the Council with a view to taking on the buildings, including Dunnikier Hall in Kirkcaldy, after it announced earlier this year that it would have to cut assets in order to make thousands of pounds worth of savings.

Mr Fitzpatrick said sustaining poorly used buildings compromised wider operations and services.

He said: “We are talking about maintaining over 80 buildings, some of which are over 100 years old.”

Market value

The Council is looking for just two per cent of the open market value for each of its nine buildings on offer.

Despite the positive news given the amount of interest in the halls, councillors raised concerns over how the buildings will run and be managed once the Council has handed over ownership.

The proposals outline that if a community group is unable to continue with the upkeep of the building, it will be returned to Fife Council so it cannot be sold off for housing or any other purposes.

Kirkcaldy councillor David Ross said: “I do have some reservations over this. There are significant issues around the state and condition of some of these buildings, and what that might mean in future stages.

Standard

We need to be clear that whoever takes this on is able to maintain these to an acceptable standard and it doesn’t come back to bite us in the future.”

Councillors also asked if it would be possible for more than one group to take on ownership of a single hall.

Mr Fitzpatrick said: “Where we have a situation where there’s multiple interest we can combine them - rather than competing with each other it makes more sense to work together and do something different.”