More fireworks over arts centre plan
THE Fire Station Creative plans to turn the former Dunfermline Fire Station into an arts centre and gallery have again been called into question by SNP councillors.
This was despite the project being praised by one nationalist councillor as a "great idea".
The decision by the Labour-led administration to take the £375,000 building off the market and give the group help from officers in making the hopes a reality were called in for a scrutiny hearing recently by SNP councillor David Mogg.
The plan survived a close vote but at Thursday's full council meeting another Dunfermline SNP councillor, Neil Hanvey, raised the issue again.
He started by describing the project as "exciting and ambitious" but asked about the relationship between the Labour Party and the arts group.
The background to the dispute was the fact that Labour had backed the project ahead of the local elections.
Council leader Alex Rowley pointed out that every political party had been contacted by the group.
He had met the group and had been very impressed by the level of commitment and the talents among those involved.
He recalled that he and Jim Leishman had gone to a similar project in Edinburgh where the workspace was completely taken up and there was a waiting list of artists.
Mr Rowley said it was simply a case of his party thinking that this was a good idea, could be a major visitor attraction and there was an opportunity for schools to become involved, having spoken to the EIS teaching union.
"There is no relationship between myself and this group but it's an absolutely great idea for Fife, for Dunfermline, for young people, for artists," Councillor Rowley said.
"I've been amazed to find over these recent months the lack of social enterprise within Fife."
He added that the way to improve matters was to develop projects through meeting with groups and engaging with them.
Councillor Hanvey said, "I'm not questioning if it's a good idea or not, actually it's a great idea."
However, he added that he wanted to know what precedent had been set for other groups with a good idea.
Councillor Rowley said no precedent had been set and the council would work with any group with a good idea "because we're ambitious for Fife".
Cowdenbeath councillor Alistair Bain asked about "three or four other groups" interested in the building.
Councillor Rowley said that was a myth and although there were other art groups in Dunfermline there was only one such proposal for the fire station building.
Have your say. Post a comment on this article.
Oct 2, 14:29
Does this group have any non public sector money to support this proposal ?
Are we as council tax payers giving them the building for free ? If so , should other "social enterprise" /charity groups not get the chance to compete for it in an open and transparent way?
Seems this group is getting help when at the last round of community asset disposal ,no help was given so nobody got a special advantage.
Interesting stuff , sure the web will untangle over time.
Recommend? Yes 1 No 2
Oct 2, 17:22
I think it's a great idea and I hope it happens but I do agree that there needs to be clarity about where the funding is coming from. The questions asked are legitimate and should be addressed. I was under the impression that the Council would retain ownership of heh building and the group would rent it from them, but may be wrong.
I was a bit worried when the Labour party made a bit of a show of its support for the project around the council elections as that risked the project becomeing a political football, with other parties opposing simply for the sake of opposing. Hopefully folk on all sides can be sensible and this can be got off the ground, assuming there is a robust business model underlying it.
Recommend? Yes 2 No 0