Efforts to breathe new life into the complex of buildings which make up the old ABC Cinema, which closed in 2000, and the former YWCA on the Esplanade have continued in recent years in spite of the pandemic – and the next stage focuses on the recreation hall sandwiched in between both.
Kings Theatre Kirkcaldy Limited, which has worked tirelessly to assess the damage and begin vital repairs to protect what remains, has already transformed the former YWCA into the Kings Live Lounge, which has quickly established itself as a live music venue and community hub.
Now an application for conservation area consent has been lodged with Fife Council to sympathetically pull down the ballroom and stage area to the rear of the building which could be subsequently be used as an open courtyard.
Warren Hawke, from consultants Stenua Limited acting on behalf of the applicants, explained: “Whilst this conservation area consent application is to demolish the dilapidated recreation hall, doing so enables the client to bring more activity into an enlarged courtyard space to the rear of No 9 Esplanade (the former YWCA building).
“This activity programme will include hospitality and performance – which will link back to the original purpose of the recreation hall.”
The former ballroom is in a sorry state of repair and a report submitted along with the application confirms it is in a “dilapidated” condition.
The structure’s roof is all but gone, while all timbers are saturated and there is also said to be contaminated debris from asbestos roof tiles from the adjacent theatre space littered inside.
Timber on the stage at the north end of the hall is also described as “rotten and unsafe” so, with substantial cost likely to be needed for repairs, experts have recommended that the structure be removed to extend the existing courtyard and enable income generating activity in the space.
The adjacent theatre building, wall and roof to structure along Redburn Wynd will also be inspected by a structural engineer prior to any works commencing on site.