Community leaders in Kinglassie have branded Fife Council’s handling of the current closure of the town’s library building as “very naive”.
Furthermore they claim residents have been left “desperately unhappy” at the loss of the use of the building, which until October 2014 was used by a number of local groups.
This situation in Kinglassie must not be allowed to continue any longerCllr Peter Grant
Councillors agreed in October 2014 to help relocate any organisations that were using the library/clinic facility because the building is deemed to need major refurbishment.
A council report last year estimated around £300,000 would be needed to replace the roof and windows as well as carry out some modernisation to the interior.
But with an annual running cost of £18,000 and no budget provision by the local authority to upgrade the building, community groups have agreed to relocate to the Miners’ Institute.
Allan Taaffe, vice chairman of Kinglassie Action Group told the Gazette he had been informed in October last year that the building was “to be closed and “probably disposed of” a decision that has left him “perplexed”, especially in light of councillors asked to agree a no closure decision and to await an asset plan to outline alternative, fully costed options for the building.
Councillor Peter Grant called the delay in assessing the range of community buildings in Kinglassie was “unacceptable”.
He said: “Why on earth have we had this delay, this area committee was promised in October last year that it would have a report by March 2015, yet we have been told today it might take six months before it comes to this committee.
“This situation in Kinglassie must not be allowed to continue any longer.
“Kinglassie needs a fit for purpose, affordable and above all sustainable facility for the community that will use it.”
Mr Taaffe said that the option of community ownership was now being explored.
“It’s a long, long issue we are trying to resolve here “ - Cllr Craik
Altany Craik, Glenrothes Area Committee chairman defended the Council’s position saying: “This is a long, long issue we are trying to resolve, the building is unsafe and we had to take the decision to help relocate groups.
“The Council has an asset strategy and we will act on the report’s findings when they are known.
“With a Community Empowerment Bill expected and various forms of external funding available, we would consult with the community when all of the available options are known.”
Kay Morrison added: “The library is not fit for purpose currently, everyone acknowledges that.
“This is not an easy situation and it is up to us to do everything we can to help organisations but we also need to be responsible with public money.”