COUNCILLORS want a timescale for action before approving a plan to knock down the old Hotel Roma in Halbeath.

The fire-damaged building in Main Street has become a “dangerous” eyesore and locals demanding action were backed by Dunfermline MSP Cara Hilton in June.

At the time, she said, “The building is clearly unsafe and its front doors remain open, meaning there’s a high risk of children going in and injuring themselves.

“Proposals are in place which both the local residents and the council are happy with so it is now time for these plans to progress to the next stage.

“The residents of Halbeath have had to put up with a building in ruin for so long so it is important that work gets under way on delivering a project that the whole community can be proud of.” Fire ripped through Hotel Roma, formerly the Fod Arms, in May 2012 with more than 20 firefighters called to tackle the blaze.

The building has been empty since the restaurant closed in November 2006 and, following unsuccessful bids to build flats on the site, the application to knock it down and replace it with five shops and 22 car parking spaces was approved by the council eight days after the fire.

Planning permission expired in May of this year and the applicants, ‘Messrs Private Pension Yeoman McAllister & Hornbuckle Mitchell Trustees Ltd’, of Edinburgh, are seeking to renew it.

However, councillors at last week’s west planning committee continued the application for discussions about when work could start.

Officers had recommended approval and a report to the committee said, “The property, some three years later, remains vacant and in a state of disrepair and the level of investment required to refurbish the building would far outweigh the resultant value of the property, thus making it economically unviable.” But it also added, “No information has been provided by the applicant on how development might proceed on site and whether there is an intention for works to start in the imminent future.” A total of 13 objection letters, including one from the Halbeath Residents and Tenants Association, raised concerns about road safety, security, noise from deliveries and the car park, anti-social behaviour and vandalism, litter and an increase in traffic.

The council said the objections had all been dealt with as part of the application approved in 2012.

In June, residents and Ms Hilton called for action, arguing the “eyesore” site was dangerous.

Wilma Mentiplay, chair of the Halbeath Residents and Tenants Association, said, “It’s an eyesore and it just brings the people in Halbeath down. It’s deteriorating very quickly.” She had added, “It was on fire at one point and we just feel it’s really dangerous.

“There are things on the roof which aren’t safe and could fall down at any time and people have been dumping rubbish.” The council had said redevelopment had stalled “due to the recent economic downturn” and their options were limited as the building was privately owned.