Plans to tear down public artwork created by Markinch school pupils nearly 30 years ago has triggered anger from residents.
Fife Council has applied for listed building consent to remove the mural, which has been on the wall at the entrance to Markinch Primary School since 1994 and replace it with plastic signage.
In a supporting statement as part of the planning application, the local authority says the move is “part of ongoing work to the school and nursery where updated signage is required”.
Plan to remove artwork
Removal of the ceramic tiles could damage them beyond repair, ruling out any possibility of the artwork being repositioned elsewhere.
However, the council said it would record the mural by photographing it.
“It is the wish of Fife Council and the school staff that the existing mural is suitably remembered,” the statement added.
“This being via a photograph displayed within the school trophy cabinet and a screen print “reproduction” onto a sheet of aluminium, to be displayed elsewhere on the exterior of the building within the school grounds.”
The removal plans have been branded “ridiculous” by locals angered at what many see as a loss of a unique piece of local heritage.
Markinch resident Gordon Michie said the request to remove the artwork was shocking and “very short sighted”.
“It would result in the loss of another piece of Markinch heritage if the proposal was allowed to go ahead,” Mr Michie added.
“It’s a unique piece of local heritage made by a past generation of youngsters from Markinch.”
‘Unique piece of local heritage’
He added: “Visitors have managed to find the school entrance without a large plastic sign for long enough, so do we really need to destroy a unique artwork made by a past generation of pupils from the school?
“It has inspired other generations of pupils including my own children that art and creativity is important to their development.
“It’s also ironic that the proposal to destroy the work comes just as the Glenrothes collection of public art, which has been preserved over the decades, featured in an hour-long BBC documentary highlighting its historical and cultural significance.”
Scores of others took to social media to call for the application to be scrapped.
Eilidh Smart branded the move “absolutely ridiculous”, adding: “Just because something is old doesn’t mean it should be discarded.
“It has value and meaning to so many.”
Neil Gibson added: “Definitely a mistake to lose a local bit of individuality to be replaced with bland bureaucracy.”
Hayley Bukhamsin, one of the students who helped create the mural, agreed an alternative solution should be found.
She said: “I moved to Dubai in 2013 and I haven’t been back to Markinch since I was a teenager, so I had absolutely no idea it was still up.
“Given it has been up there nearly 30 years and is part of local history, it feels unnecessary to move it now.
“From the response in the community, it’s clear that the mural is well-loved in Markinch.
“Perhaps there’s an alternative solution where everyone can be happy.”
Haley, whose maiden name was Swann, said seeing the mural again brought fond memories flooding back.
“It must have been around 1994 and we had such good fun making it,” she said.
“One of the biggest challenges was making sure each tile matched up with the next one.”
Due to the number of objections, it is thought the decision will now be put before the planning committee early next year.