Demolition work has begun on a former Glenrothes library, despite a long-running campaign to save the building.
Glenwood library in Macedonia was partly demolished late last week after Fife Council voted to close the facility, sparking a campaign by local councillor Julie Ford and others to save the facility.
The library was one of 16 identified agreed for closure in 2015, and a planning consultation by locals called for a community-focused facility to be opened in its place.
Local SNP councillors Julie Ford and Craig Walker, who have both fought to save the library over the years, have voiced their disappointment as demolition work gets under way.
They claimed the action was sprung on them at the last minute, with residents said to be dismayed as they learned what was happening.
Ms Ford launched the campaign to protect the building before she was elected as a councillor.
Ms Ford and Mr Walker admitted they had lost the battle to save the library, but said they have sought assurances from Fife Council that the community planning process established five years ago would be kept in mind.
Residents had expressed hope that a community-focused facility could be maintained in the Glenwood centre, even if the library was forced to close.
Fife Council is currently undertaking a controversial £23 million regeneration programme of the Glenwood centre, with compulsory purchase orders issued for businesses that remain.
But some have objected to the plans, including the owners of several shops and takeaways, which still operate from the shopping centre.
Ms Ford said: “Glenwood Library has been an institution for the local area and will hold happy memories for a lot of people.
“To say I was shocked and saddened when I was told of the plans to demolish this building is an understatement.”
Battle to save Glenwood library ‘lost’
She added: “I have long campaigned for this facility to remain, with full library functions, for the local people. Unfortunately, we have lost that battle.
“I am determined the voices of the local people are not ignored completely and that the hopes and dreams for Macedonia, reflected in the charrette, are taken on board and that a community facility of some kind is provided.”
One local resident, Marie Robertson, who shared pictures of the demolition work, told The Courier that she was sad to see the library go.
We need to now look to the future and make sure that the community facility is delivered.”
Councillor Craig Walker
Councillor Craig Walker added: “I understand that officers wanted to show the council’s commitment for these plans by starting some of the work, which is why the demolition of the library has begun.
“I am disappointed with the little to no consultation with local ward members of how and when this would happen.
“The demolition has now started and can’t be reversed.
“We need to now look to the future and make sure that the community facility, that so many people want for Macedonia, is delivered.
“This is what Julie and I will continue to do over the coming months.”
Fife Council team manager Andy Maclellan said the council was working with the local community to regenerate the centre to “make it a place where people want to live and businesses want to open”.
Work expected to last around six weeks
He added: “As part of the process, the former library is being demolished.
“Work started this week and is expected to take around six weeks to complete.
“The memorial plaque located on the side of the existing library will be carefully removed and stored.
This work is the start of an exciting new beginning for the area.”
Fife Council team manager Andy Maclellan
“This work is the start of an exciting new beginning for the area and, for local people, providing the facilities they deserve.
“A masterplan is being commissioned to look at future options on the site including housing, community hubs and commercial opportunities.”