A former Kinross-shire primary school could be given a new lease of life after a newly formed Fossoway community trust expressed interest in taking over the building.
Blairingone Primary School – the town’s last community facility – was closed by Perth and Kinross Council at the end of June 2019.
Prior to the school’s closure Blairingone had lost its village hall, shop, church and pub.
But last week members of the Kinross-shire Local Committee were told the newly formed Fossoway Community Development Trust had expressed interest in taking over the building.
Community Planning and Policy Team leader Lee Haxton provided an update to the committee on June 30.
At a previous Kinross-shire Local Committee meeting it was agreed the community would be given a year to come up with a proposal for the vacant building.
Providing an update to the committee, Haxton said: “We’ve been aware of some interest from the emerging Fossoway Community Development Trust for some time. That now seems to have taken root.
“We’re advised they are particularly keen and there is an expression of interest which is our initial kind of entry level stage for community asset transfer effectively ready to go.”
He said his team was looking forward to receiving that and added: “The process on the back of that would be for the Expression of Interest form – once it’s received – to be shared across the Community Asset Transfer Team.”
He told the committee the team has representatives from various council teams including: Finance, Property, Estates, Legal and Communities. The team will provide feedback – based on the information presented – and meet with the Fossoway Community Development Trust to talk through options and answer questions.
Haxton added: “Ultimately it’s up to them to pursue in whichever form they wish to take that forward. It may result in a community asset transfer or it may not. It’s a little too early to tell.”
Kinross-shire SNP councillor Richard Watters asked if there had been any other expressions of interest in the building.
Haxton told the committee: “That’s certainly the only one that we’re aware of. I’ve received nothing else.”
Kinross-shire Independent councillor Dave Cuthbert asked what would happen if Fossoway Community Development Trust took longer than a year to put forward a proposal.
Haxton said: “Our intention would be to let you know in advance of that 12-month period coming to an end as to what stage the community development trust have got to with their proposals. If you’re satisfied with that I’d see no reason to force them into coming to some form of conclusion just to satisfy that 12-month window but it’s up to yourselves as committee members to decide.”
Former Kinross-shire councillor Mike Barnacle now chair of the Fossoway Development and Community Trust he said: “The trust is now established with 38 members. One of the first projects to consider was the Blairingone Primary School building.
“There is quite a bit of interest in what we can do there because there is not another community facility.
“The Fossoway Community and Development Trust is going to formally register an interest with the council to lease the building with a possible view to buying it in the long term.”