AFTER months of complex talks and negotiations, one of Dunfermline’s most historic attractions has been taken back into the ownership of the Carnegie Dunfermline Trust.

Abbot House has been lying empty all winter after being forced to close last August amid financial problems and its future has been tied up in red tape while discussions continued.

Now, 25 years after first gifting the 'Pink House' in the Maygate to the then Dunfermline Heritage Trust, the Carnegie Dunfermline Trust has confirmed that it is now back in charge and is set to work hard to finally reopen the building to the public.

In a statement, the trust said: “Many months of complex negotiation have resulted in vacant occupancy of this beautiful and historic centrepiece to Dunfermline’s Heritage Quarter reverting back to the CDT in a state which is going to need some serious and swift work just to bring the fabric of the building back to a reasonable condition.

“The Carnegie Dunfermline Trustees greatly appreciate the broad and enthusiastic support which has been generated for the Pink House and asks that all these well-wishers bear with us whilst we put ‘our house’ in order and consult carefully on the best way forward.”

Chief executive Nora Rundell is excited to see plans move forward but warned that it would take time to get things up and running again.

“We really are delighted and the trustees are very enthusiastic,” she said. “Everyone we’ve spoken to is equally supportive, which is lovely to see.

“We’re very sorry that it’s all taken so long but actually, the timing in the end could be good.

"There’s the development of the new museum, summer coming forward and in lots of ways it’s a really good opportunity. If we get it right, we’re going to get it very right for Dunfermline.

“The building has been lying vacant over the winter so our priority is to get in amongst it and get it sorted first.

"It won’t be quick, partly because of the condition of the building and partly because we need to be sensible about how we plan to go forward. We’re not going to rush it.

“Lots of people have been in touch with us with suggestions and it’s a stunning opportunity.” The announcement comes as a welcome piece of good news after a difficult time for Abbot House.

In January last year, the Press launched a campaign to save the popular visitor attraction after breaking the news that it desperately needed a £5,000 cash injection or it would be forced to close.

Despite donations surpassing the £10,000 mark, the Abbot House Heritage Centre Trust (AHHCT) claimed closure was “forced” on them due to lack of funds from Fife Council and a refusal from the Carnegie Dunfermline Trust to remove a reversion clause.

The council disputed this, stating they had given “extensive financial assistance and support” and that both the council and Carnegie Dunfermline Trust had “repeatedly” expressed concerns about the running of the facility.

The controversial clause stated that, in the event of Abbot House going bust, the building would revert to the Carnegie Dunfermline Trust or the council.

It was later revealed that it was void and that, as a charity, they could only dispose of the building to another charity, the Carnegie Dunfermline Trust.