War of words over Kinghorn Library

Andrew Bentley-Steed joint chairman and Alana Fraser, volunteer co-ordinator.
Andrew Bentley-Steed joint chairman and Alana Fraser, volunteer co-ordinator.
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The group hoping to take over the running of Kinghorn Library next year has queried Fife Council’s lack of communication and forward planning.

Kinghorn Library Renewed says it is still waiting for a response to questions it asked back in April about the state of the building to enable it to progress its plans for the future of the service in the town.

The group only discovered that the deadline for submitting a business plan for the new service had been moved forward by more than a month after correspondence sent to the wrong person was passed on.

It is now asking why the council claims it is still negotiating the terms and conditions with individual library groups when it has yet to respond to emails sent almost three months ago.

But Fife Council has hit back saying that the deadline for business plans has remained the same.

And says it is doing what it can to assist the groups aiming to take over the facilities which fell victim to cost cutting measures.

Andrew Bentley-Steed, co-chairman of Kinghorn Library Renewed said: “A group of volunteers are approaching this process with much greater professionalism.’’

The last occasion on which a representative of Fife Council met with representatives of Kinghorn was on March 14.

‘‘At this minuted meeting, we were told that the due date for business plans was going to be August, but that would be confirmed.”

And he said that the group only discovered the change of date when an email was forwarded from Alan McIlravie, the provost of the Royal Burgh of Kinghorn Community Council, who is not part of the team developing the community library plan.

Gordon Mole, senior business manager with Fife Council, said: “Our deadline for business case submissions has not changed and remains 22 July as previously notified to all interested groups.

‘‘We’re not sure where the confusion has come from but have contacted the Kinghorn group to clarify.

‘‘I must stress that we’re not trying to create obstacles for interested groups and will assist them as best as we can.”

Kinghorn Library is due to close in February 2017. Kinghorn Library Renewed is a group of volunteers from the town which is proposing to run an enhanced service from the current building.

A survey it carried out among local residents earlier this year brought forward offers of around 40 people willing to volunteer their time and pledges from people to donate more than £2500, as well as donations of hundreds of books and CDs.