Shake-up of council buildings in Cupar

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CUPAR’s town centre could be in for a significant change, with two prominent landmark buildings being sold off by Fife Council and the once bustling County Buildings returned to its former glory.

The local authority has confirmed that as part of its five year rationalisation plan - which aims to see 97 offices across Fife reduced to 37 - council offices at Castlehill and Cupar’s Burgh Chambers would be sold.

Social work staff at Castlehill would be moved to the County Buildings, effectively safeguarding its future for the time being.

The Burgh Chambers, currently unoccupied and owned by the Common Good, could also be sold off although the process for this is much more difficult and would require a Sheriff’s approval.

SAVINGS

Alan Paul, the council’s asset manager, told the Fife Herald the move would net considerable savings.

“Fife Council has decided on four core corporate locations for council staff in Fife, one of them being the County Buildings,” he said.

“We are projecting that we could have 300 staff in there.”

Mr Paul said he saw no difficulty in attracting interest for the Castlehill offices, despite the difficult economic climate.

He also stressed that it was only the offices that were being considered for sale and not buildings occupied by the playgroup and Castlehill Association.

“This could take a few years so we don’t want anyone to be worrying they are going to be thrown out,” he said.

“It is just the council offices that are part of this plan.”

Mr Paul said that if the Burgh Chambers was declared surplus to requirements, the council would consider selling it off.

He explained that where buildings were owned by the Common Good, effectively the people of Cupar, the local authority acted like a ‘trustee’ and would have to go to the courts and present its case.

CHALLENGES

“One of the challenges of rationalisation is that we have to become an efficient organisation and any disposal would be sympathetically handled with a full consultation,” he said.

While Cupar may have to lose two buildings, one compensation could be that its town centre road network is improved and traffic congestion cut.

Mr Paul confirmed that the council has acquired the disused ATS building in St Catherine Street and is now ‘hopeful’ an agreement can be reached with legal firm Paterson Bell to acquire its offices next door.

If successful, plans to widen the road at the war memorial could go ahead.