End of the road for old Kirkcaldy power station

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A decision to allow the demolition of a former power station marks the end of the line for the building which supplied the first electricity to Kirkcaldy’s street lights and old tram network.

Councillors on the central area planning committee agreed to grant listed building consent for demolition of the B-listed building on the town’s Victoria Road, which dates back to 1902 when it was built to provide the first public power supply to the town and its trams.

Since the 1960s it has lain empty and deterioration over the decades led to it being placed on the Buildings at Risk Register in 2000.

In 2014, plans were approved for an 80-bedroomed nursing home on the site owned by United Investments Co. Ltd, when councillors heard it would cost millions to repair the facade of the building.

Plans to demolish it to make way for the nursing home and a supermarket, with the creation of around 200 jobs, were put on hold last year, when Historic Scotland voiced its opposition.

But, after a six month reprieve to see if any credible plans to incorporate the listed frontage of the premises could be found, with the owners offering to sell it for £1 to anyone meeting the criteria, its fate has finally been sealed, with councillors agreeing that all avenues had been explored.

The decision to allow it to be demolished has met with regret from David Galloway, vice chairman of Kirkcaldy Civic Society, who said: “It is a great pity that the facade is being lost as this was a very important building in the town’s history.

“It was the power supply for the trams and the town’s street lights, but like so many other things its demise has become inevitable.”

Diana Josephs, of United Investments, said: “I am very pleased with Fife Council’s decision to allow the former power station to be demolished, which has at long last resolved the future of the site.

“After so many years the building has become an eyesore, and the redevelopment of the site will be good for the local area and good for Kirkcaldy. I would like to thank everyone who has helped make this happen.”

The Victoria Road power station opened in 1902 when it provided the first street lighting for Kirkcaldy as well as the electricity to run Kirkcaldy’s tram network. It was officially opened on the same day as the Victoria Viaduct and the new burgh police headquarters, amid great excitement. After the trams stopped in the 1930s the building continued to operate and for some years was the headquarters of the South of Scotland Electricity Board. It closed in the 1960s.