Councillor’s call for action on eyesores

Councillor Smart at the former Stuart's bakery site.
Councillor Smart at the former Stuart's bakery site.

A Levenmouth councillor is calling for action amid concerns that the area is blighted by abandoned or unslightly buildings that he fears could be dangerous.

Labour councillor Ryan Smart, who represents Buckhaven, Methil and the Wemyss villages, says that his and neighbouring wards are full of crumbling buildings.

He wants to see the council given more powers to address the issue .

“I am very concerned about the number of abandoned buildings in whole of the Levenmouth area,” he said.

“The fact that many of them were commercial businesses means that the council can only influence the situation so much.

“Local government should be given more power to do something about this .

“Do we wait until they get burned down like the old Denbeath Bowling Club? Or until someone is seriously injured?

“We have an unacceptably high number of abandoned buildings in this area compared with other parts of Fife.

“This would never be allowed to happen in St Andrews.”

One of the most prominent eyesores is the former Stuart’s bakery site in Buckhaven, which was abandoned in 2004 when the company moved to new premises in Methil Docks.

It is on Fife Council’s vacant and derelict site register and was highlighted during the Buckhaven Links! charette held earlier this year by CLEAR Fife – Community Led Environmental Action for Regeneration.

A subsequent action plan put together by the group called for the building to be re-developed and the frontage improved.

Other premises highlighted by Councillor Smart in his ward as being in a poor state include the shop next to the Coral Bookmakers in Sandwell Street, Buckhaven; shops next to Sizzlers in Methilhaven Road, Denbeath; the site of the old chemical plant on Percival Road; the site of the old petrol station at the approach to East Wemyss; the old church on Barncraig Street, Denbeath; the site on the corner of Sea Road and Main Street, Methilhill, Denbeath Bowling Club and a number of shops in Methil High Street.

Neil Mitchell, Fife Council’s service manager for building standards and public safety, said: “We have a statutory requirement and powers to deal with dangerous buildings under the Building (Scotland) Act 2003 where the owners have failed in their responsibilities to maintain buildings to the extent they pose a danger.

“These powers can be used whether the building is abandoned or occupied. We use this power when required.

“There is also discretionary defective buildings legislation that can be used for more significant repairs but this doesn’t cover visual appearance or vacancy issues.”