PLANS to create an educational play cafe in Kincardine have been shelved.

The Playpen Cafe had hoped to bring the facility – which would have also included a support hub for parents – to the former Co-op store in the High Street but are now looking for a new location after they said they were forced to walk away.

CEO Alexandra Ostroumoff-Croucher spent the last year on the challenging development, with the building identified as needing attention in the Go Forth Kincardine design charrette after the closure of the Longannet power plant.

However, despite grant money pledged by a number of funders, it was revealed at a late stage that the building had dangerous and unmanageable levels of asbestos, with interior repair costs mounting to £200,000.

The premises – which were left empty after the Co-op opened a new store in the village's Silver Street in May 2018 – was was one of the lots in an online auction last month. When bidding closed, the highest offer was £72,000.

Alexandra said they were heartbroken to walk away. “We hope something positive for the community of Kincardine can happen with this vital space soon and meanwhile we are desperate to find an alternative space," she said.

“Unfortunately, the owner was not prepared to invest the necessary additional funds to make the building safe and useable for the community, leaving us no option but to walk away after months of fundraising, community engagement and working with Fife Council, who were very excited about our project.”

Playpen runs pop-up events in Clackmannanshire and West Fife and the Kincardine facility would have given the organisation its first permanent home.

They are keen to find an alternative location in West Fife or Clackmannanshire and anyone who owns or knows a building that may be suitable is asked to message The Playpen's Facebook page.