Former tax office in Fife town could be turned into flats as new plans lodged

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Former tax offices situated above Cupar’s main Post Office could be turned into flats if plans submitted to Fife Council are approved.

Volunteer House in Cupar’s Crossgate was more recently occupied by a number of charities, but the vast majority of offices on the first floor have been vacant and have been for two to three years - prompting the building’s owners to seek a change of use.

Cupar Developments Limited wants to convert the office accommodation into eight separate flats, although the structural make-up of the building and the fact Royal Mail occupies the entire ground floor, except for two access stairways at each end, restricts what can be done.

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Two flats on the western site, overlooking the existing courtyard below, are proposed, along with two further flats along Short Lane, one as a standard two-bedroom and the other as a ‘studio’ or ‘student’ flat with access taken from the existing entrance and stairway off Short Lane.

The former tax offices situated above Cupar’s main Post Office could be turned into flatsThe former tax offices situated above Cupar’s main Post Office could be turned into flats
The former tax offices situated above Cupar’s main Post Office could be turned into flats
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Meanwhile, on the eastern side of the property facing on to Crossgate, the applicants want to create four new two-bedroom flats using space currently hidden to accommodate two bedrooms on the mezzanine level.

Gerry Creanor, from Glasgow-based agents The Creanor Consultancy, explained the reasoning behind the plans coming forward now.

“It was a former HMRC Office but sold off over 25 years ago and, up until approximately two to three years ago, was fully occupied as an office of various occupants,” he said.

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“However, due to a substantial reduction in demand for this type of office accommodation in Cupar over the years, the previous owner has had to revert to allowing several charities to occupy the premises, but on a lease with a rent of a single £1 per month which is not sustainable considering the roof repairs and general maintenance that is constantly required for a building of this age.

“The current owner had certainly advertised the accommodation extensively before the COVID epidemic even commenced but the onset of this situation has resulted in even the charities having to give up their leases and has now resulted in a single charity occupying a small percentage of the total available space.”

Mr Creanor added that available space for additional facilities that would normally be desired, such as car parking, gardens and even bin spaces, could not be adopted in this instance due to the way the property had been built and Royal Mail’s ground floor presence.

However, he noted that parking is available to the narrow side strip of ground on the adjacent Short Lane where Post Office vans certainly congregate “in great numbers” both in the early hours and then later hours of the day.

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“This space has been noticeably mainly utilised by visitors to the main shopping area to avoid paying parking fees for the available spaces on Crossgate and the surrounding area,” he continued.

“We understand that historically when the offices were fully occupied, staff utilised this space.”

The property was originally constructed in the mid-1960s.

A basement area which is home to two previously used large oil-fired boilers and a storeroom was but ruled out, due to the inability of any insurance being provided under the possibility of being a fire hazard.

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