RESTORATIONS and conservation works to Anstruther’s historic and highly visible Hew Scott Hall, St Nicolas Tower and Anstruther Wester Town Hall, have recently begun.
Renovations costing around £660,000 are being funded as part of the Anstruther Townscape Heritage Initiative and include a new internal stair to enable the buildings to function as one.
Works will be completed later this year, when the buildings will be renamed as the Dreel Halls, and ownership will transfer to the Anstruther Improvements Association.
Already a focus for community activity, the AIA hopes existing users will return to the halls when they reopen and also plans to develop new uses that will appeal to a wide cross-section of the community.
A second phase of internal improvements is being explored to ensure facilities meet the needs of users and to improve long-term sustainability.
AIA president, Elizabeth Gordon, said: “We are all delighted that the external improvement works have started.
“This is an important step in realising our vision of making the Dreel Halls a vibrant and dynamic place, with something for everyone and where everyone can get involved.
“Although we have consulted widely through our recent community needs survey, we are keen to hear from any groups or individuals with an interest in using the Dreel Halls, or anyone who has suggestions for new activities, so that the internal improvements can reflect what the local community wants.”
More details of AIA activities and contact details can be found on its website www.anstrutherimprovements. org.uk.
The AIA itself is a community-based registered charity, established in 1950, which funds projects in Anstruther, Cellardyke and Kilrenny to improve and protect the burghs.
The group has occupied and managed the Wester Anstruther Town Hall for many years and is relishing the opportunity to take ownership of all three buildings in the complex, to consolidate them and manage continued community use.
The Anstruther Townscape Heritage Initiative is providing a package of funding worth around £2.7 million to the burgh. Funds have been secured from a variety of sources, including Heritage Lottery Fund (£915,000), Historic Scotland CARS (£500,000), and Fife Council (potentially up to £375,000).
A number of projects will be implemented over a five-year programme, including works to the Hew Scott Hall and Wester Town Hall, the Murray Library, and Anstruther’s historic streetscape.