East Neuk halls under threat

St Monans Town Hall is one of the buildings under threat. (Pic: George McLuskie)
St Monans Town Hall is one of the buildings under threat. (Pic: George McLuskie)

The future of three East Neuk community halls are under renewed threat and could be sold off if no groups can be found to take them over.

St Monans Town Hall, and both Crail Town Hall and Community Hall have been listed by Fife Council for Community Asset Transfer (CAT).

The move comes as part of the council’s bid to make budget savings and deal with a 10-year repairs backlog estimated to total £209 million.

“We’ve accumulated buildings over decades and many are no longer planned around what people need now,” explained Tim Kendrick, community planning manager.

“We’ve considered running and maintenance costs, how they are used and the needs of the local community.

“Using this information, councillors thought about better ways to sustain local services and facilities, and identified buildings which can be sold, buildings which could be used in a different way, and buildings which should be kept to deliver a wider range of council and community services.”

If no groups come forward, councillors will be asked to decide whether to put to buildsing s up for desposal.

Max Taylor, secretary of Crail Community Council, said: “There’s anxiety about the town hall because it’s got an empty bottom floor, and the community hall because it probably needs investment to bring it up to standard.”

Expressions of interest in both Crail halls,were lodged but have come to nothing.

Describing them as “iconic”, Mr Taylor added that to lose them would be a blow for the community.

“The town hall is a symbol of Crail. It’s a very important building and it has the ancient coat of arms of the town.

“The community hall is the largest we have. It’s the kind of place we can hold our big events. There would be a lot of aggravation if they both went.”

While the three East Neuk halls are still up for grabs, there has been confirmed interest in the Gyles in Pittenweem, Earlsferry Town Hall and Pittenweem Old Town Hall.

Councillor Linda Holt said taking control of a Fife Council building was not “for the faint hearted” but paid tribute to the various local groups working to “breathe new life into council buildings”.

“It’s fantastic to see volunteers in various East Neuk communities banding together to take the first steps to turn these often neglected buildings into real community assets,” she said.

“While various council buildings across north east Fife are currently being marketed for community asset transfer, Fife Council has reassured me that they are only available to bona fide community groups. If no groups come forward, they will not be sold off to private investors but will continue to be run directly by Fife Council.”