New role for Leven High Street's former WHSmith store
Social enterprise Levenmouth Together is set to create a new community hub inside a carved out High Street retail unit.
The scheme, run by local third sector initiative BRAG Enterprises, is ready to buy the former WH Smith on Leven High Street for £210,000, with funding provided by the Scottish Government's Town Centre Fund.
Fife Council has agreed to provide £20,000 towards fit-out costs for the building after it has been purchased, while BRAG intends to make a further application for £50,000 to the government's Levenmouth Blueprint fund to help with doing the building up.
Once bought and fixed up, the ex-newsagents will become a new community space for Leven, offering a variety of activities and community space.
Ken Caldwell, convener of the Levenmouth area committee, said: “The plans for this vacant retail unit will make an impact on several priorities for the area - improving the town centre; increasing training and employment opportunities; and supporting tourism.
"This project is a good example of the council working with partners - in this case BRAG - to bring about positive changes in our town centre.”
A business plan circulated among councillors suggests that the building could become a hub for community consultation, acting as a highly visible forward base for projects such as the H100 hydrogen scheme, decommissioning work and the regeneration of Silverburn Park.
BRAG says it is considering letting out parts of the unit to other charitable organisations for events, with the high street acting as a lucrative and centrally accessible location.
However, it's not all work and no play. Other proposals mooted for the large space are indoor golf and even an "escape room" attraction - though nothing has been finalised.
The as-yet-unnamed hub will create both paid jobs and volunteering opportunities, according to BRAG.
The High Street project follows the social enterprise's acquisition of Thomson House in Methil at the end of last year. It has now been rebranded as the Levenmouth Community Enterprise Centre and is being refurbished to act as a low-cost business space for fledging start-ups in the local area.
BRAG was contacted for comment.