Shop fronts and homes in Leven’s town centre are being spruced up in a bid to encourage the owners to take responsibility for future maintenance.
Members of the Levenmouth area committee were last week asked to agree to a contribution of up to £25,000 for the ‘Stitch in Time’ project, which has already been carrying out a full inspection of the condition of buildings at a high level on all streets which make up the town centre area.
It is hoped that, by inspecting the buildings and, ultimately carrying out any small scale preventative repairs, as well as gutter cleaning, risk to users of the high street will be reduced and owners of the buildings will be encouraged to take on the responsibility of maintaining the buildings themselves in the future.
Dave Paterson, area services manager for Levenmouth, noted in his report: “There is a statutory requirement for business owners and home owners to keep their properties in a safe condition through periodic maintenance and repiair.
“However, the available legisilation does not allow the local authority to insist on improvements to a property.”
He added: “It is hoped the awareness-raising achieved by this approach will have a positive impact in relation to the future maintenance of buildings in the town centre area.
“The investment in the condition of privately owned business properities or dwelling houses in the town centre is an essential component in the wider regeneration of any retail hub.”
Commenting, Councillor John O’Brien said: “I’m pleased to see this report come forward. If you are walking along the High Street, you might not always look up, but if you speak to people, they’ll point stuff out and I’ve been told there are some shop canopies that might not have been cleaned for 30 years! This is a matter for health and safety.”
Cllr David Graham also welcomed the report but questioned whether it should focus on other areas in Levenmouth too.
“I’m certainly supportive of this, but perhaps playing devil’s advocate, I would assume that the flats in the high street in Methil would have to pay for repairs, but it’s being done for free in Leven.
“My constituents will ask, why is this being done in Leven and not in Methil?”
Mr Paterson noted that, although efforts were being focused on Leven because of higher footfall there, the Stitch in Time project does not stop with Leven alone.
“If a report of a building needing some repairs elsewhere was to come to us, it is something that could be looked at,” he said.