St Andrews’ Victory Memorial Hall is still at risk of being put up for sale by Fife Council.
The warning came after it emerged that no interest has been expressed by the townsfolk in running the hall – and if none is forthcoming the council will move to sell the building.
Now the council wants to hear views from local people about its plans for the future of community facilities, urging local groups to come forward if they are be interested in taking over any of these buildings and offering support to them.
The hall is one of a long list of council buildings in north east Fife that could join the town’s local office in St Marys Place on the ‘for sale’ list.
That list includes St Monans’ Town Hall and Victoria Hall, Pittenweem’s New Town Hall, and Elie and Earlsferry Towhn Hall, with more discussions needed on the future of the East Neuk Centre, East Hall, Anstruther and the village’s local office, Cellardyke Town Hall, The Gyles in Pittenweem and Crail Community Hall.
The initiative is part of the council’s bid to make budget savings of £585,000 in north east Fife, and deal with a further £209 million repairs backlog.
But Cupar Councillor Bryan Poole suggested a radical alternative to getting rid of the halls, following the example of other countries where a special levy is added to local taxes and hypothecated for running local facilities.
“All the community halls are community assets and the communities should decide their future,” he said, “but that will also entail consideration of where the finance will come from to keep those halls open. I suggest that communities should be supported and enabled to raise a ‘Local Community Fund’ – a fund which would be collected by Fife Council but which would be disbursed in full to the local community to fund local community facilities and/or events.
Cllr Poole suggested that in Cupar a local levy of 10p per household per week would raise about £250,000 to be used, for example, to keep the Corn Exchange going, to support annual civil events like Cupar Gala and more. “My view is if the choice is between paying 10p per week and keeping all these facilities and events for the community going then I’d be happy to pay that 10p. I’d be interested in the views of others,” he added.