Plans to develop Burntisland’s under-used former Burgh Chambers building into something which could be used by the whole town are being investigated.
Discussions about the clock tower and the wider premises took place between Burntisland Community Council and Councillor Neil Crooks, chairman of the Kirkcaldy area committee at the community council’s last meeting.
The talks arose in the wake of the furore which followed the dismantling of the town’s popular clock tower after dangerous structural damage due to a rusted iron hoop was discovered in the middle of the stonework when it was being reinstated in 2012, after a noise dispute.
Alex MacDonald, chairman of the communitycouncil explained: “It’s clear that Fife Council does have a legal responsibility to re-build the clock tower and to start work on that by 2016.
‘‘However, we’re also conscious that if we are to get something other than the minimum legal requirement then we have to put together a business case which shows how the overall chambers can be put to best use.
“We have set up a team of about a dozen interested people – many of whom are members of the Community Council – to explore what the options might be.
“We’re leaving no stone unturned in our efforts to find a viable, long-term solution which will bring the Burgh Chambers back into regular and frequent use at the heart of our community.’’
He added: “That’s not an overnight task so we’re looking at what has been done elsewhere and how we might take full advantage of the character of the building and its central location. It will mean spending a lot of money but we can only get the money in the first place if we can demonstrate that we’ve researched the options thoroughly and have a sustainable solution with a clear revenue stream.”
Councillor Crooks added: “Clearly the dismantling of the clock tower was a big issue for people in Burntisland.
‘‘There are also other complex issues about buildings on the Burntisland Common Good register which need to be considered.
“I have suggested that the Community Council take a lead with local councillors to consider all of the Common Good matters so there can be a clear direction and prioritisation.”
The Burgh Chambers were built in the 1840s and until 1975 served as the administrative headquarters for local government.
Since then, apart from the rooms hosting the Burntisland Heritage Trust, which are regularly used, large parts of the building are only used sporadically for functions including thee xiles reception, part of the Burntisland Highland Games day.