Levenmouth councillors urge Council to consider community provision at a local level

Buckhaven Community Centre is one of the buildings being looked at
Buckhaven Community Centre is one of the buildings being looked at
  • New hall management
  • Local decisions demanded
  • ‘One size does not fit all’

Levenmouth councillors have advised that local-level decisions should be made on the future running of local community halls and centres.

Fife Council is in consultation with management committees and user groups over the future of community provision in the Kingdom, and its executive committee wants feedback from local elected representatives.

They are not Fife-wide facilities – they are local services.

Cllr Ally Hunter

However, Levenmouth members have highlighted the area’s wide assortment of communities and said a “one size fits all” approach would be wrong. Decisions, they believed, should be taken locally and not in Glenrothes.

The council said a modern, fit for purpose management structure was needed for community premises previously run by the former district and regional councils.

A report before Levemouth’s area committee last week said there should be a “strategic view” of the operation of Fife Council-owned community facilities, for financial reasons, and to clarify roles and responsibilities between the local authority and management committees.

Some premises were run by groups who set charges and kept income from activities but had no responsibility for operating costs. These included The Centre in Leven, Sandybrae in Kennoway, Sailors Rest in Methil, and the community centres in Methil and Buckhaven.

Others were run lease-free by management committees with no Fife Council staff – Coaltown of Wemyss Institute, Rosie McDuff Hall in East Wemyss, Methilhill Senior Citizens’ Centre, Memorial Park Centre in Methil and the Greig Institute in Windygates.

Fife Council planned to retain some buildings, offer leases for others, dispose of some by community asset transfer, or sell those which had no interested user groups.

However, Cllr Ally Hunter said: “This is led by a desire to save money and not a desire to build strong communities and foster growth, through the numerous activities taking place in our centres across Levenmouth. The word ‘strategic’ is being applied to local facilities – they are not Fife-wide facilities. They are, at their heart and their core, local services, so they should be afforded that flexibility.”

Cllr Andrew Rodger, Independent, said halls would inevitably close, but the cost to communities and the risk of isolating people had to be considered.

Janice Laird, the council’s community learning and development service manager, said: “We are really supportive of community organisations and management committees. We are not here to try and undermine the work they do – we want to try and develop a new relationship with them.”