Run your own local halls!

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COUNCILLORS have agreed to sell-off or lease three Kirkcaldy community centres.

St Clair Hall, Dunnikier OAP Hall and the Dysart Centre were all part of Fife Council’s plans to let go of any buildings which are ‘surplus to requirement’, in a bid to rid the local authority of costly assets.

Kirkcaldy councillors agreed to proposals which earmarked the halls as possible opportunities for community ownership.

The Council is now asking community groups who are interested to come forward -a move which has worked well in other areas of the Kingdom.

Area committee chairman Councillor Alice Soper said: “We are actively seeking groups who feel they can take over these buildings successfully.

‘‘We have already had some interest in one hall. Hopefully that’s a sign of things to come.”

Dunnikier interest

Fife Arabic Society has taken on the lease for St Clair Hall, and has been using the premises for the past few years with a plan to refurbish the building. Interest has also been shown in Dunnikier OAP hall.

However, the decision was not taken lightly by councillors

Councillor Kay Carrington said: “There are a lot of worried people who think their centre is being closed. This is not the case.

‘‘We are looking to find ways to improve the situation. Although from a money point of view the situation may look bad to an accountant, to a community which uses the hall it may look completely different.”

The next steps will see consultation with local groups who want to put themselves forward for taking on the buildings.

Joe Fitzpatrick, head of local and community services, said guidance as to how groups can apply for the halls will soon be available.

He said: “Officers have been working to develop the next steps of the community ownership process following the recent committee decision.  We’ll communicate with communities when we have the finalised process in place.”

The halls are part of a wider review of around 20 centres which has taken place across Fife.