It will cost £1.4m to bring down Fife Council’s Rothesay House in the new year, but councillors say it is the best option for the 40-year-old office block as it nears the end of its life.
On Thursday morning, Fife Cabinet Committee Councillors unanimously agreed to demolish Rothesay House – a former council administrative office building – to save money and open up the site for redevelopment opportunities.
Fife Council made the decision to mothball Rothesay House in December 2020. By the end of 2021, most staff had relocated at Fife House and Bankhead. A small number of staff associated with the community alarms system remained until July of this year when they too transferred to Bankhead. Since then, Rothesay House has been vacant.
The council has no need for the space, and there has been no private sector interest either.
“Rothesay House is of a size and age that it will need significant investment in the coming years and to meet energy standards. No interest has been expressed from partners and we have no need for it as a council. Nor is there any private sector interest,” Alan Paul, head of property services, told the committee.
The building is also made of poorly insulated precast concrete, and many of its components are nearing end of their life which limits its uses – particularly following an increased focus on energy efficiency.
The condition, usability and cost of upgrading the building are all reasons for demolition rather than renovation.
Razing it will cost £1.4m from the corporate contingencies budget. However, in just three years the council will make the cost of the demolition in the amount of savings.
Mr Paul estimated that maintaining and running a vacant Rothesay House would cost £420,000 annually – money which will be saved as a result of Thursday’s decision.
In addition to savings, the demolition will make way for a new, regenerative development.
“The cleared site will offer an opportunity to secure private sector investment in the town centre, which would support the council’s ambition for the regeneration of the area,” the committee report said.
“Redevelopment has the potential to provide benefits across multiple themes from the Plan for Fife – offering opportunities to contribute to economic recovery, increase housing supply, as well as opportunities around place and community wealth building.”
The demolition is also part of the council’s larger effort to move towards a smaller, more sustainable property portfolio.
The project will go out for tender in the new year, and the council anticipates that demolition will start sometime between March and August 2024.
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