Future of Cowdenbeath Town House
On 7th May a drop-in event was held in the Maxwell Centre providing an opportunity for the community to ask questions around proposals for a Community Shop being established in Town House, Cowdenbeath. This was held in partnership with Fife Council, Coalfields Regeneration Trust and Community Shop.
Following positive feedback, Coalfields Regeneration Trust are seeking to purchase the Town House and progress this project. This presents an exciting opportunity to bring Cowdenbeath Town House back into use, in a way which will benefit the community.
The Town House belongs to the community as a ‘common good’ asset and therefore we want to hear your thoughts on this proposal.
The Town House has been closed for the last 6 years and is surplus to requirement. It has been considered for disposal in the past, but placing it on the open market could result in a future use which has limited community benefit.
Sale of the Town House would mean the loss of a common good asset, but money from the sale would benefit the common good fund and would also see the building brought back into use for the benefit of the community.
Coalfields Regeneration Trust
Coalfields Regeneration Trust (CRT) are a registered charity, established in 1999. Their plans would see the building redeveloped into a thriving place which will benefit the community and attract people back to the High Street. Along with the provision of Community Shop, there will be future development of the remaining space for the benefit of the community.
CRT has four strategic goals to support former coalfields communities:
- Employment - Increase the number of people in work and create the conditions for new job opportunities in our communities.
- Skills - Grow the confidence, skills and qualifications of our coalfield population.
- Health and Wellbeing - Improve the health outcomes for our coalfield population and increase the numbers of people taking part in healthy lifestyle activities.
- CRT Property Investments Ltd – Private companies which are looking for a return on investment are less inclined to develop properties in former coalfields communities. Recognising the resulting lack of available commercial property, CRT invests in properties to provide high quality, affordable, spaces for small businesses. The development seeks to use local contractors, supporting the local economy, jobs and skills development.
More information can be found on the Coalfields Regeneration Trust website. They’ve already undertaken a number of community projects throughout Cowdenbeath and the wider Fife area such as Coalfield WORX (providing support to people seeking employment), and developing Community Action Plans throughout the Cowdenbeath area.
The proposal is for Community Shop to accommodate the ground floor of the Town House. There are three main elements to Community Shop:
- Community Store – Supplied by surplus and donated food, the shop would offer discounted food and household products. This would provide vital access to help feed families while making sure perfectly good products don’t go to waste.
- Community Hub - provides life-changing training and personal development through the Success Plan, helping people to increase their confidence, build on strengths and overcome barriers in their lives. Including anything from health and wellbeing to money matters and community leadership training. Community Hub inspires people to become the best version of themselves.
- Community Kitchen - a welcoming space where people can enjoy good quality meals at low prices. However, they are much more than that and through a range of events and family activities, they encourage people out of the house, get strangers talking and bring communities together. Their busy calendars include things like cook clubs, seasonal activities and family events plus kids can eat for free!
More information, along with some videos of the Community Shop in action, can be found on the Community Shop website
We want your views
Getting the doors of the Town House back open will only happen if an organisation or group outside of Fife Council are able to operate it. We don’t want to miss out on this opportunity for the area, but we also want to ensure we do what’s in the best interest of the community. Therefore, we’d love to hear whether this is something you support, or whether you may have other ideas we should consider.
Please complete the quick questionnaire to let us know what you think. The closing date for responses is 7th August.
Opens: July 18th, 2022
Closes: August 7th, 2022