The group behind plans to start up a new community-led library service for the people of Kinghorn has hit out at Fife Council for dragging its heels and holding up the process.
Kinghorn Library Renewed has been told that it can have access to the former library building for its new proposals for a book-lending service along with tourist information, book sales and IT services from March 20.
But the group says it has been left “frustrated” because it did not know when and if it can put its long-awaited plans into action until this week.
With the current library service run by Fife Cultural Trust finishing next week, the committee of KLR say the failure of Fife Council to provide it with a copy of the lease, or give an entry date until this week, has left it well behind where it hoped to be.
“We were originally told we couldn’t to see a copy of the lease until we were properly incorporated and we did this by September last year,” explained Andrew Bentley-Steed, joint chairman on KLR.
“All the groups wishing to take over the running of their libraries did this by November but none of us have actually seen a lease, although we are told it will be with us this week. We haven’t been able to set up a bank account, arrange internet or organise insurance until we have this, so everything has been held up.”
Elizabeth Whitton, joint chairman, added: “Until we have sight of the lease we have no idea if it will be acceptable and allow us to plan an opening in early April.
“If only Fife Council had moved faster on this, all these issues could have been resolved in January. All the other libraries find themselves in the same position.
“It is simply unacceptable to wait till the very last minute to issue leases and this will inevitably lead to delays to all the community libraries re-opening. Responsibility for that lies right at the door of Fife Council.”
Gordon Mole, Fife Council’s senior business manager, said: “The Council’s legal team is drafting a lease for Kinghorn Library and Community Centre, which will be issued this week.
“The initial company registration needed to be amended for the library to be legally operated by the community group. We now have the required documentation to progress with the handover.
“We remain committed to working with Kinghorn Library Renewed Ltd and will continue to support it to develop community links to help local people move forward with this important project.
A letter confirming the current position was sent out and a meeting will be arranged to discuss how we can work together towards a smooth transition of the building and the library to the community group.”