Celebrity backing for fire station arts
Gary Fitzpatrick • Published 26 Apr 2012 09:30
PLANS to turn the former Dunfermline fire station into an arts centre have received celebrity backing from Barbara Dickson, Ian Rankin and Richard Jobson.
The Press revealed last week that the Fire Station Creative team were pinning their hopes of next month's local election to turn their dreams into reality.
The Labour Party has already said it will make the plans happen and those involved in the project hope other parties will make similar pledges.
The web site - www.firestationcreative.com - has had over 2000 hits in the space of six days and supporters are signing up to the Facebook page to make their vote count.
Singing legend Barbara Dickson is backing the plans for her home town saying this week, "I feel that part of Dunfermline is very lacking in character nowadays and so Fire Station Creative is just the thing to energise the town culturally.
"Sadly Dunfermline has become less of an entity over the years, due to it's proximity to Edinburgh and it's high time it reclaimed its dignified past.
"I support the project wholeheartedly and I am sure my brother Alastair, a fine artist, would also endorse a space designated for art in the heart of Dunfermline, our home town."
Author Ian Rankin said, "I think a new centre for contemporary art in Dunfermline is a great idea. Many wonderful artists, writers and musicians got their start in and took inspiration from Fife.
"There's a better chance of nurturing future generations of them if projects like the Fire Station come into being and are supported by the community."
Former singer of The Skids now a film director, Richard Jobson said, "It's a brilliant idea and would give creative people in the area a point of focus as well as being a place for everyone to enjoy an ongoing relationship with the arts. It's a must happen idea."
A business case has been developed illustrating several different revenue streams. In addition, Doug Wilson, corporate affairs manager for Tesco Stores Limited is keen to have a discussion around the Section 75 monies relating to their planning consent for the site neighbouring the Fire Station.
He said, "Ultimately the decision on the use of the monies would be for Fife Council to decide however we think that your scheme would be an appropriate use for this funding."
On Monday, John Park MSP and Labour candidate Jim Leishman visited Coburg House - an arts centre in Leith that is providing a blueprint for the Fife Station Creative plans.
Mr Park said, "The studio space in Leith is jammed to the rafters and there are over 180 people on a waiting list so we can see how popular this sort of initiative is.
"I've no doubt we would see more than enough demand to make the Fire Station a huge success - not just for Dunfermline's town centre - but as a nationally recognised facility."
However, West Fife Lib Dem councillor, Gerry McMullan, while backing the plans in principle, hit back at what he saw as a "cheap election promise" by Labour.
Mr McMullan said, "There is no doubt finance is very tight here in Fife and the capital required for such an ambitious project would be significant.
"Having Jim Leishman and Bob Young promise they will make it happen if they get into power is the cheapest election promise I have heard since they are also promising to build 2700 new homes for Fife if they take over the purse strings of Fife Council.
"It's so unfortunate in the last two years Labour have not produced any realistic financial budget figures to back up their promises of better arts facilities or new homes"
"When the SNP, Lib Dem coalition took over five years ago, we were faced with a huge financial burden left by Labour's governance. These cheap promises by Labour is perhaps the finest piece of fiction since JK Rowling said 'I think I will write a book'.
"It's a fact, Dunfermline which has so much artistic talent based here has been totally ignored by those allegedly responsible for the town, what is said and what is actually achieved is quite different"
"Turning the Fire Station into a unique Arts Centre is the perfect solution for studio, cinema and exhibition space and it requires everyone's support."
There was a generally very favourable reaction from Press readers on our Facebook page when we asked what they thought of the plans.
This article appeared in Dunfermline Press 26 Apr 12