For those readers not on our mailing list – and you won’t be unless you sign-up as a volunteer – or who have missed the notices we’ve posted around the burgh, our first AGM is tomorrow night. We will be meeting at 7.30pm in Kinghorn Community Centre, Wednesday 22 February.
We have a number of announcements to make and a couple of things to vote on but also, crucially, little in the way of updates from Fife Council.
Given that Fife Council voted to end funding of Kinghorn Library last year, we had hoped to be in a position to announce an opening date but we have yet to see a draft copy of the lease.
In the year since the announcement to close our library was made, volunteers from Kinghorn have formed a Private Company Limited by Guarantee (which involves mastering some of the legal blah involved in writing a legally-compliant constitution), we have registered as a charity, we have developed a business plan, we have researched and tested the database we will use to manage our book inventory and loans, we have been for Health & Safety training… in fact, we have jumped through every hoop, obstacle and flaming fire-pit of administrative and legal bumph to get to the point where we can say ‘We are ready’.
We have been informed that the revised date for entry is now 20 March 2017 but as with all the other bungle, fudge and slippery language used by any/ most local authorities, it’s always worth checking the small print. It’s worth remembering that as a Category B-listed building, there will inevitably be clauses that have to be clarified by the lawyers and given that Fife Council wants KLR to assume part-control of the exterior of the building, there’s a reluctance from a small charity to be responsible for maintaining a building which just two years got a botched job on roof repairs that cost £85k. Since a window in the foyer has been replaced, there is now damp where before there was a dry vestibule. A repair job of just 10% of that cost would put us out of business which is why taxpayers trust local authorities to look after buildings of historical interest.
In short, Fife Council had just one job: to prepare a lease. The decanting of the library (to give it the technical term when you lock the doors and switch off the lights) was to be handled by Fife Cultural Trust. It is not as though the managers of the Asset Team or the Legal Services did not know that this closure was pending. The closure date of Tuesday 28 February 2017 was announced last year. We were told just yesterday – Monday 20 February 2017 – in an email from Sharon Ward, Lead Officer Asset Management (Strategic Planning), that Fife Cultural Trust has yet to have their lawyer in Glasgow renounce the lease and to quote her email “that is progressing but agreement is not yet reached.”
You had one job Fife Council, just one job.