Statement on the Future of Dunfermline Fire Station

I attended last Tuesday’s meeting of Fife Council’s Environment, Finance & Corporate Services Scrutiny Committee.

I was concerned about the previous decision taken by Fife Council’s Executive Committee to suspend the sale of the former Dunfermline Fife Station building on Carnegie Drive for a year so that “exclusive discussions could be undertaken with Dunfermline Creative on their proposals to convert” the building to an arts centre.

This decision had been “called in” by Dunfermline SNP’s Cllr David Mogg for scrutiny in view of serious concerns that had been raised regarding alleged special treatment that the unincorporated group, Dunfermline Creative, was to receive.

I listened to the arguments put forward by Cllr Mogg surrounding the circumstances leading to the Labour-led Executive’s decision to grant Dunfermline Creative exclusive negotiating rights.  After an extensive discussion, Committee member Cllr Peter Grant lodged a motion to delay implementing the Executive’s decision until after the City of Dunfermline Area Committee had had a chance to examine the whole artistic and cultural impact of such a project.  This motion was defeated 8-7.

I am very disappointed that the Dunfermline Area Committee will not now have a chance to look at this whole matter.  It is still not clear to me how and why Dunfermline Creative has been given this special negotiating status (which will include professional support from Fife Council officers) and why no other offers coming forward from other voluntary or commercial interests to buy the building will be considered over the next twelve months.

It may well be that Dunfermline Creative can come up with a fully credible plan for the former Fire Station, but I remain very concerned at others being effectively locked out.  I would love Fife Council to think again. I fear Fife taxpayers could lose out and we could end up missing the chance, over the next year, to consider other suitable opportunities for the site, which continues to cost Fife Council taxpayers money to maintain.

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