Two Holyrood candidates have committed to campaigning against any proposed closure of a Fife college.
Roderick Campbell, who is standing for the SNP in north-east Fife, and Liberal Democrat candidate Willie Rennie have thrown their weight behind efforts to retain the Scottish Rural University College’s (SRUC) Elmwood campus in Cupar.
The pair were responding to a call by local councillor Bryan Poole, who wrote directly to them both expressing concern for Elmwood’s future.
His fears follow claims that the Cupar campus is being “managed towards closure”, with significant capital investment needed to keep it open.
Talks are ongoing between SRUC, Fife College and the Scottish Funding Council to find a way forward for the site.
In the meantime, Fife College still intends to remove its courses from Elmwood by the summer.
“All the signs are that Elmwood is being prepared for closure e.g. the farm has already been sold,” said Mr Poole.
“My own view is that would be a short-sighted decision and would not be serving the current or future needs of the local community of Cupar, north-east Fife and more importantly the future needs of our young people.”
He added: “I know there are fewer students and staff currently at Elmwood than there has ever been.”
Mr Campbell, who was elected MSP for north-east Fife in 2011, said he would do everything possible to ensure further education provision was maintained in the town.
“There should be no doubt that I do not wish to see further education provision reduced, let alone removed, from the town,” he said.
He added that he had been discussing the issue for many months with education secretary Angela Constance, the SRUC, Fife College and Fife Council.
Commenting on suggestions that Fife College should take over the day-to-day running of Elmwood, Mr Campbell said: “At this point, I do not believe it is helpful to be discussing a possible closure of the college. This only serves to further speculation about its future and therefore increases speculation and gossip.”
Mr Rennie disagreed, however, stating: “I have been concerned about the future of Elmwood for some time and believe the best future can be secured within Fife College rather than as a small part of a remove SRUC arrangement.
“I can commit to campaigning against closure and for additional capital spending.
“I have committed to a modest increase in income taxation to pay for additional investment in education including the college sector.”