Restoration of 15th century Kirkcaldy landmark faces funding threat

A major restoration of Kirkcaldy’s oldest building still in use is under threat from a lack of clarity over whether a UK charitable tax-relief scheme will continue beyond the end of this month.

Wednesday, 3rd March 2021, 12:30 pm

Kirkcaldy Old Kirk Trust is planning to restore the 15th century bell tower of the historic B-listed building in the town centre.

But the project rests on the continuation of the Listed Places of Worship Grant Scheme operated through the UK Government.Without it, the charity would have to find an additional £60,000 to complete the work.

The group turned to local MP, Neale Hanvey, to find out if the scheme would continue beyond the end of March.

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Kirkcaldy Old Kirk. Pic: Old Kirk Trust.

However, following enquiries, the MP said he was left “bitterly disappointed” by the response from the UK government, with the minister stating that any extension is on hold until the completion of the spending eview.”

Mr Hanvey followed up his enquiry with a written parliamentary question.

Rosemary Potter at top of the Old Kirk tower . Pic: Walter Neilson.

Since 2001, the scheme has been renewed each year, but this is the first time that there has been no confirmation from the UK government so close to the cut-off point.

Mr Hanvey said: “I’m furious that the UK government is showing such disregard for my constituents and putting an important capital project in our community at risk.

“All the minister needs to tell us is whether a scheme that has been running since 2001 will continue beyond the end of this month or not.”

Rosemary Potter, chairman of Kirkcaldy Old Kirk Trust, said the grant was a key part of its funding.

She said: “Over the past three years we have been developing the Tower Restoration Project for this iconic landmark, with opportunities to involve more volunteers, provide employment and training in conservation building techniques, increase skills and employability, contribute to increased tourism and town centre regeneration, and raise civic pride.

“If the Listed Places of Worship Grant Scheme for VAT Reclaim is renewed from April 1, then we would have secured 85% of the project finance and are hopeful that the remaining 15% would be met by April by those grant funders who are still considering our applications at the moment.”

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