The former Victoria Power Station in Kirkcaldy, which has lain in a derelict state for decades, is to be demolished.
Councillors at yesterday’s (Wednesday) Central Area Planning Committee agreed by 10 votes to three in favour of clearing the B listed building which developers want to replace with a residential care home facility.
Planning officers had recommended councillors to reject the application but following a visit to the dilapidated property the majority of committee members agreed that planning permission in principle should be granted for the project.
Councillor George Kay said the site visit had left him convinced “a hundred times over” that the development was vital as part of a necessity to aid regeneration in the Victoria Road area of the town.
“It is clear that this building has been derelict for decades, not only is it an eyesore, it’s an unsafe eyesore and needs attention now, the sooner the better,” he said.
Kirkcaldy councillor Neil Crooks expressed full support for the proposal.
“It’s been an eyesore for most of my adult life, it’s a blight to the landscape, we need to act,” Mr Crooks told the committee.
“We have a duty to look at issues such as this seriously, and I think a reasonable case has been made to go ahead with demolition against the report.”
The building, which dates back to 1903 and was designed by local architect William Williamson, was built to supply power to the tramways operating in the town at that time.
But since its closure, the building has fallen into an advanced state of disrepair, so much so that it was placed on the Building at Risk Register since 2000, despite the view that it remained a building of architectural merit.
In a letter to Fife Council in February this year, Historic Scotland expressed the view that a case for demolition had not been made and that additional work would be required to demonstrate that every effort has been made to integrate the listed building into a redevelopment site.
Because of the listed status, Historic Scotland still hold the right to ultimately decide the fate of Victoria Power Station and have the right to call a public enquiry to decide its fate should they so wish.
Councillors agreed the demolition needed to be conditional on efforts to retain as much of the front facade of the building as possible and that demolition work could only take place after the Council had received a signed contract confirming the start of building work on the development.