Fife Council is to commit £1.75m towards the compulsory purchase of the dilapidated Glenwood Shopping Centre as part of major redevelopment plans for Glenrothes.
The fund will facilitate compulsory purchase orders (CPO) on the remaining 11 flats still in private ownership as well as a number of occupied and vacant retail units.
It marks a significant step forward in ambitious plans to breath new life into the west of the town and follows a charrette and a number of public consultation events designed to drum up support among residents.
The council is to press on with the CPO orders, which once completed, could see the centre demolished in favour of a major new development soon after. And the aim is to have the regeneration package completed and delivered by 2022, the lifespan of the council’s current joint administration.
In a report to Glenrothes Area Committee by Norman Laird, Glenrothes Communities manager, he said: “One of the key drivers for delivering a charrette in this area was to develop and consider options for the future of the Glenwood Centre which has suffered long standing dilapidation and instances of high profile antisocial behaviour.
“The options presented high level concepts and design principles to the local community to assess the mix of uses that could be present in a regenerated site.
“There was widespread public support throughout the charrette process for the demolition of the ‘old’ Glenwood Centre including the commercial units at ground level and the residential units above.”
Commenting on the situation John Mills, head of Housing Services, told the Gazette: “Fife Council Housing Services is to start discussion with the private landlords of flats at Glenwood, with a view to the council purchasing the properties. This is in line with the outcomes from the recent charrette, as part of the overall redevelopment of the Glenwood Centre. These discussions will be ongoing over the next few months.”
The news has been welcomed by councillors, however Cllr Julie Ford added: “What we don’t want to see is this keep tugging along after such high community engagement, then nothing comes of it.”
This was echoed by Cllr Altany Craik, who added: “Work being done to redevelop Glenwood is a big step forward, and shows a great level of intent. But we don’t want to see a delay with these talks and getting started.”