The restoration of the historic Old Kirk tower in Kirkcaldy has moved a step closer with the final piece of development funding now in place.
Members of Kirkcaldy area committee have approved £15,000 from the town’s Common Good fund.
It is hoped the award will trigger the start of a £406,000 restoration and enhancement of the Kirk, which will play a key role in the promotion of tourism in the town.
The B-listed church is the oldest building in continuous use in Kirkcaldy, having served the town for nearly 1,000 years as a centre for worship.
The earliest written record of the Old Kirk dates back to 1244 when it was consecrated by Bishop de Brenham.
Historic Scottish economist and philosopher Adam Smith was christened in the Old Kirk.
Rosemary Potter chairwoman of the Old Kirk Trustees, said she was delighted that the application had been approved.
She added: “The pandemic has slowed down some of the fundraising but we have, amongst other confirmed awards, £102,200 approved from Heritage Lottery Fund and a matching amount secured from Historic Environment Scotland.
“We expect to know about the rest of the applications by the end of March.
“The 15th Century bell tower is an iconic part of Kirkcaldy town centre, but after 500 years overlooking the High Street, it is in need of some care and attention to make fit to survive the next 500.”
The trust has made strides in improving the Old Kirk since it took control in 2010 with a number of internal improvements already completed.
In addition to the applications for funding, Kirkcaldy SNP MP, Neale Hanvey has also been campaigning on behalf of the Kirk, to ensure the project will continue to be eligible for UK Government charitable tax-relief, which could save the project as much as £60,000.
There is still some uncertainty over whether the tax-relief scheme, in operation since 2001, will continue following the completion of a UK Government spending review later this month.
Commenting on the latest funding, Kirkcaldy Labour Councillor Ian Cameron, said the landmark was at the heart of the council’s efforts to maximise the potential for tourism from the town’s historic architecture and buildings.
“This is a no brainer, we are always talking about a sense of place and here we are with a 7th century religious site, and 800 year old church, Adam Smith was christened there and there’s so much history wrapped up in the graveyard and the kirk.
“It makes perfect sense for us to be investing in this very ambitious restoration project.”
Councillor Neil Crooks, committee convener, added: “It’s apt that 2023 will be the 300th anniversary of Adam Smith being baptised at the site that we are investing in it now.
“It’s great, but not surprising that this application has got universal support from Kirkcaldy councillors.