PLANS for a new five-screen multiplex cinema in Kirkcaldy have been “strangled at birth” according to the man who wanted to build it.
Kirkcaldy-born Robert Kilgour, chief executive of Dow Investments, had submitted a plan for a 1000-seat cinema to Fife Council.
But, he claims, it was knocked back at the last minute - and a further detailed application was requested.
Mr Kilgour says this would cost at least £100,000 without any guarantee that the plan would be accepted.
And he has now scrapped his plans and said the building - one of the first to be seen by rail commuters visiting town - will be left boarded-up.
Mr Kilgour said: “In this financial climate we just can’t afford to specutively spend that amount of money.
“We submitted our initial request for planning permission to demolish the hotel on March 1. I was pretty confident it would be accepted.
“The planners then sat on it for over two months before telling us that they want a detailed application. These are extremely expensive.
‘‘It would require full environmental, traffic and noise surveys - in essence they council have strangled the cinema proposal.’’
He added: “We’re having to pull out and now we’re back to square one. The building will remain empty and deteriorating until we find a use for it.”
“It’s very sad,” Mr Kilgour said. “It’s eleven years since Kirkcaldy last had a cinema.
“I think it’ll be at least eleven years before it has another.”
James Wright, a planner in Development Management, said the council were sympathetic to Mr Kilgour’s proposal, but that they needed more information.
Mr Wright said: “Mr Kilgour submitted a planning proposal but we simply can’t give approval until we see the designs in full as there are a number of points that need to be considered.
“A big problem is that the hotel is in a conservation area right next to the Adam Smith Theatre, which is a B-listed building.
“In order for a demolition to go ahead in such an area needs not only our approval but also that of Historic Scotland, and at the moment they agree with us that a more detailed application is required.”
Mr Wright added that the council believes that Kirkcaldy does need a cinema. “We’re not saying that we wouldn’t ever let the building be demolished, but we need a detailed application to begin with.”