A maritime museum for Scotland, turning the Burgh Chambers into a civic hub and reinstating its clock tower, and giving the Links area a facelift, are just a few of the suggestions being put forward for the future of Burntisland.
And every resident can have their say when the town’s Community Council rolls out a massive public consultation exercise in April, asking residents, business owners, school children and pensioners what they would like to see done to improve their town.
The consultation will form part of a feasibility study for which £50,000 has been laid aside by Fife Council for Burntisland in a Community Assets Renewal and Transfer Fund.
And Alex McDonald, chairman of the Community Council, is urging everyone to make sure they take the opportunity to make their views known.
“This will be a huge, six-month consultation between April and September this year and will cover the whole town, not just one particular area, so we are looking for as many people as possible to take part.
“For years there have been discussions about Common Good properties and how they could be managed better.
I look forward to working with Burntisland Community Council to make this money work for the communityCouncillor Susan Leslie
“This includes the Burgh Chambers the Links and other properties, and we have never had money to do anything significant with them. Now we have the opportunity to do this in-depth study to help get things off the ground.”
Ian Archibald, convener of Burntisland Heritage Trust, said buildings like the Burgh Chambers deserved to have a bigger role in public life.
“This building dates back to 1843 when it replaced the old Tolbooth and it was extended to include a courtroom, which was used until local government reorganisation in 1974.
“It has some quite unique historical features, and it could be much more widely used than it currently is.”
Mr McDonald said the Burntisland 2020 group had done a research project 15 years ago involving town planning students from Heriot-Watt University, who were given free rein on ideas to improve the town.
“They came up with some superb ideas, centred around the importance of the sea and the railway on Burntisland, and these ideas could be resurrected for this,” he said.
Councillor Susan Leslie added: “I am delighted the Council has taken my proposals forward and created this fund, so that communities like Burntisland can have the support of the Council in breathing new life into their Common Good assets.
“I look forward to working with Burntisland Community Council to make this money work for the community.”
Money laid aside for communities
Councillor Susan Leslie has welcomed the introduction of the Community Asset Renewal and Transfer Fund which will be part of the new Fife Council budget.
The fund will provide £300,000 for communities around Fife to stimulate external funding for community assets.
She initially suggested the funding as a way of supporting local residents in Burntisland to undertake a feasibility study and put forward a business plan for the renewal of the Common Good assets on Burntisland High Street – with the intention that it be used to help kick-start work to re-build the town’s clock tower, a long-standing aspiration of the community.
Of the £300,000 the council has allocated to this new fund, £50,000 has been committed to Burntisland for exactly this purpose.
Councillor Leslie said: “I am delighted the Council has taken my proposals forward and created this fund, so that communities like Burntisland can have the support of the Council in breathing new life into their Common Good assets.
“Thanks to the support of my colleagues in the Liberal Democrat group, we have engaged with the Council on the budget process and achieved a win for communities.”
Alex MacDonald, chairman of Burntisland Community Council, added: “This will be a real boost to our plans for Burntisland’s Common Good properties, making a huge difference and allow us to start the process of making our aspirations a reality.
“At a meeting of Burntisland Community Council, it was agreed to begin the process of revitalising Common Good properties. Discussions have been re-opened with the STAR Development Group, which specialises in conducting community consultation exercises, as a step towards building a Community Action Plan. Its experience includes some excellent outcomes elsewhere in Fife. “Funding for the consultation will first have to have the approval of Fife Council.”