Volunteers claim council u-turn on funding ‘promise’

CH@T volunteers outside the Macedonia meeting room building that they hope to make their new home.  (Pic Steve Brown)
CH@T volunteers outside the Macedonia meeting room building that they hope to make their new home. (Pic Steve Brown)

A prominent Glenrothes community group has called on Fife Council to honour its agreement to rehouse them following the closure of a school in the town.

Members of CH@T, the Community Help At Tanshall, which is made up of volunteers from the local community, fear that the £50,000 they claim was promised to them by the council to relocate after the closure of Tanshall Primary School, may now no longer be available.

CH@T members, along with parents, fought a year-long campaign to try and keep the school open but it finally closed in July 2015 following a a Fife Council review into the region’s school estate.

Because of the school’s closure the group has since been left to continue without a permanent home.

“We were told during the school closure consultation that there would be this fund to help us relocate, however we are now being told that it was on condition that we moved into Southwood School,” explained Euan Howells, CH@T chairman.

“The Southwood facility is smaller than what we had in Tanshall, will be restricted to school hours and is wholly inappropriate for the types of community led events and help programmes we already have planned.

“The Macedonia tenants meeting room building is ideal and will act as a much needed focal point for the community.

“You would think Fife Council would be right behind our efforts but it certainly doesn’t feel like that at the moment.”

The group’s call for the council to do more has received the backing of two local councillors.

“I am becoming increasingly concerned that the support that Fife Council promised does not seem to be forthcoming,” said Cllr Craig Walker.

“It is now well over a year since the group were essentially evicted following the decision to close Tanshall Primary School and yet they remain in limbo.

“It’s unacceptable and its high time Fife Council honoured the promises it made to this excellent voluntary organisation.”

His comments were echoed by fellow councillor Julie Ford, who added: “It appears to me that CH@T are being expected to jump through hoops in order to secure their desired premises, a location that would allow the group to begin to fulfil, fully, their community objectives.

“I hope answers can be given as soon as possible.”

Cllr Bill Brown, chairman of Glenrothes Area Committee said: “My understanding is that the financial assistance was to come from capital funding from within the education budget and only linked to the group relocating within an education facility.

“However, discussions are ongoing with the group and Fife Council and I understand some form of funding, a sum as yet to be agreed, is currently being sought from another area of the education budget.”

A Fife Council spokesman confirmed that it is in discussion with CH@T about the lease for the Macedonia meeting rooms and is seeking to clarify the details of any previous funding agreement.