THE former Nairn’s linoleum factory in Kirkcaldy should be kept to preserve an important piece of social history – if at all possible.
This is the view of two of the town’s prominent heritage groups which this week said they would be asking for all avenues to be explored before consent is granted to demolish the building in Victoria Road.
Alan Lodge, manager of Fife Historic Buildings Trust, said: “We know that the planning system requires the owner of an historic and listed building to make every effort to find an alternative use before receiving any consent to demolish. The Trust would expect this to be done.”
Mary Hall, chairman of Kirkcaldy Civic Society, said it would be putting in an objection to the plans.
“We will be objecting on the grounds that this is a building of special historic interest. It is quite unique in Scotland, maybe even in the world, and we think it should be preserved for the future.”
However, both groups conceded that a huge amount of effort has already been put into trying to find an alternative use for the building which has lain empty since the 1980s.
Over the years it has been mooted as a possible site for a library and museum; a sports centre; and a business centre with an Islamic centre in the other half as suggested in the BBC’s Restoration programme, however all proposals fell through, with costs being a major factor.
The groups admit that, if alternative, cost-effective uses cannot be found, it may be necessary to allow demolition.
In this instance, Kirkcaldy Civic Society says every effort should be made to maintain the front facade of the building, similar to what has been done by Adam Smith College at Kirkcaldy harbour.
Fife Historic Buildings Trust chairman Christine May, said: “Our trust was established to restore historic buildings and bring them back into productive use. We would never welcome the loss of any historic building.
“However, the Trust knows how much time and effort has gone into carrying out feasibility studies, and having discussions with prospective users were it to be restored. In the end, none of the proposals proved to be economically viable.”
Mrs Hall added: “This is pretty much a last ditch attempt to save the building if it is at all possible.
“However, we are also being realistic in that it is an eyesore at present and something needs to be done in the near future.”