An historic building that was once on the ‘at risk’ register is set to enjoy a new lease of life thanks to major restoration project.
The group spearheading the transformation, Ladybank Development Trust, were this week handed the keys to the once-derelict Laird’s Waiting Room at Ladybank Station, now a much-needed community meeting place with modern kitchen facilities and full access .
The ‘B’ listed building, which dates back to 1847, was once the private waiting room for the Haig family living at nearby Ramornie House.
The building had been left to deteriorate and was on the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland’s ‘Buildings at Risk’ Register when Ladybank Development Trust stepped in and adopted the station in 2011.
The restoration project was managed by Fife Historic Buildings Trust and funded by LEADER in Fife, Fife Environment Trust, the Railway Heritage Trust, ScotRail’s Stations Community Regeneration Fund and Fife Council’s local community planning budget.
Further support was on offer from Fife Voluntary Action, who helped draft the applications for funding.
The main contractor was John Smart and Sons of Kirkcaldy, who carried out the work using local craftsmen.
A number of challenges were encountered along the way, including nesting swallows which delayed the start of the project for several weeks.
Christine May, chair of Fife Historic Buildings Trust, said: “We are delighted to hand over this small but beautifully restored historic building to Ladybank Development Trust and wish them well as they bring it back into use for the local community.
“We are very grateful to them for their energetic input to this project, and to everyone who has been involved.”
However the occasion was tinged with sadness as one of the main instigators of the project, Trustee Jeanette Soffietti, passed away in July 2013, shortly before the restoration work began.
Mrs Soffietti , who was a community councillor, was one of the founders of the Trust, formed in 2008 with the aim of improving facilities in Ladybank for residents and revitalise its history and culture.
A number of significant projects have been completed over the years, including the redevelopment of the Haig Memorial Garden, which was originally opened in 1931 but had badly deteriorated.
Next on the agenda was a major, three-phase scheme to Improve Victoria Park.
The first phase involved the installation of new play equipment for local children at a cost of over £60,000; phase two saw the addition of almost £22,000 worth of outdoor gym equipment.
The replacement of sports changing facilities completes the project.
The Trust has also worked with Network Rail and Scotrail to upgrade the ramp access to the station and provide more car parking spaces and have formed a community garden in the old stationmaster’s garden.
They’re currently restoring the old washhouse in the garden, which was originally used by the Victorian staff to wash their clothes but had fallen into disrepair.
Once restored, it will be used by a gardening group for storage.