Overwhelming response to plans to regenerate historic building

December 8 2016, 8.51amUpdated: December 7 2016, 3.59pm
© DC ThomsonSome of the Friends Of Pilmuir Works.
Some of the Friends Of Pilmuir Works.

There was standing room only at the first public meeting to gauge the community’s reaction to a buy-out of Dunfermline’s historic but decaying Duracord factory.

The newly formed community group, Friends of Pilmuir Works, organised the event in Carnegie Leisure Centre, symbolically opposite the listed building which is in the hands of administrators.

Despite optimistically booking a room with a capacity of 60, the group was overwhelmed to end up with more than 80 locals, including local politicians of all persuasions.

Local SNP councillor Ian Ferguson said; “The large cross-section of people in attendance enforces the belief that the desire for something to be done was a community-wide desire not limited to any particular group. We had been trying to find out if the community wanted this.

“The enthusiastic, and, in some cases clearly frustrated, attendees here tonight has shown how animated Dunfermline is about this building.”

Grant Buttars, who oversaw the meeting, said: “The energy from the audience was fantastic. Everyone was buzzing by the end.

“We recognise that this is only the very first step and there is a long journey ahead, but so many people have come forward to offer their skills that we feel quietly confident that together we can all make this happen.”

After hearing from three guest speakers – local historian Hugh Walker, award-winning architect Malcolm Fraser who raised expectations by describing the work he has carried out on older buildings across Scotland, and Karl Doroszenko, who talked of his key role in transforming Kilmarnock town centre – those attending were asked to give their views.

At the brainstorming session, organised by Jean Ferguson, everyone in the audience was given the opportunity to get their big idea heard.

All the smaller ideas were collected for later analysis.

City of Dunfermline area committee chairwoman Helen Law used it for a re-think on a bid to lure Fife College to the site, while Labour councillor Billy Pollock suggested a winter sports complex.

Linda Ferris from the group added that there was now a need to organise more meetings, to try to get even more than the hundreds of ideas captured.
“In the background the search for funding will carry on.

“We have over a hundred names on our petition that asks people if they support our aims. That is an amazing number given how early we are in doing all this.”

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