THE project to develop Anstruther’s Murray Library into an upmarket backpackers hostel is one major step closer after planning permission was granted to change its use.
This was needed so the Murray Library Trust, in charge of the development, could legally convert the Shore Street building from a library and snooker hall into a hostel with additional creative industry rooms.
Cllr Elizabeth Riches, one of the Murray Library Trustees, said the Trust could now look to appoint a contractor to carry out the work – keeping it on track for a summer 2013 opening.
Ms Riches added she was particularly pleased it had received planning permission to transform the snooker hall.
She said: “That is an exciting stage because eventually that will give opportunities for people to either set up their own business or run what they have been trying to cope with in their homes, and hopefully gives lots of opportunities to local people.
“Now we’ve got planning permission and listed building consent the final piece is the building warrant. That’s been worked on now.”
If all goes well with the internal changes, which need to be made in order for the building to accommodate up to 36 people, a kitchen/dining space, office and storage spaces, a reading room and toilets, then the hostel should be able to capitalise on next year’s main tourist season.
Work to restore the outside of the building, which had separate permission, including replacing much of the worn stonework is almost complete and it is hoped that should be finished by the end of the year.
Cllr Riches continued: “At the moment the work going on at the front of the building is going well.
“The stonemasons are doing incredibly skilled work. It’s painstaking. They are setting the stone in lime mortar and if it gets too cold they wont be able to use it so we’ve got our fingers crossed for the last couple of months.
“The whole roof is being looked over and new drainage is being put in. The windows are all being refurbished ready to go back in and there will be an extra plaque put in to say when the renovation took place.”