Auction house plan for Cupar may create 60-80 jobs

Former Heggie and Nationwide accident repair centre, to be turned into an auction house.
Former Heggie and Nationwide accident repair centre, to be turned into an auction house.

A NEW auction house, art gallery and cafe in Cupar could bring 60 to 80 jobs to the town.

That’s according to the businessman behind the venture, local antiques dealer Ken Robb.

A consortium spearheaded by Mr Robb, who owns Kingdom Antiques in the Bonnygate, has bought the former Nationwide accident repair centre on Front Lebanon.

Mr Robb told the Fife Herald the project could be the start of Cupar’s ‘regeneration’.

He said: “I was born and brought up in Cupar and recently there has been a lot of negativity surrounding the town.

“But someone has to break the cycle and we are prepared to put our money where our mouth is. Cupar’s regeneration starts here.”

The one-acre site has been vacant for four years following the closure of the accident repair centre, which Nationwide bought from Heggie’s in the late 1990s.

If Mr Robb’s plans get the green light, the revamped premises will incorporate an auction house — with sales on Saturday mornings — an art gallery operated by St Andrews artist Louise Seymour, an antiques hall featuring in situ dealers, and a cafe.

It is hoped the complex will open by the end of November, subject to planning approval.

Mr Robb, whose consortium missed out on buying the former St Michael’s Church on West Port, says the project will require six-figure investment and will create at least 60 to 80 jobs, from cafe staff and drivers to positions linked to the antiques dealers.

He added: “The reaction we’ve got so far has been very favourable.

“It’s going to be a nice place to come and visit seven days a week, which will hopefully give a boost to other businesses in the town.

“We’ve already spoken to some of the close neighbours and they all think it’s a great idea.

“It will be unique to this part of Scotland — there are very few places like this up and down the country that put the dealers ‘live’ on the floor rather than just filling cabinets.”

Mr Robb said he would be working closely with Fife Council planners over the development.