SCOTLAND could get its own answer to London’s Tate Modern after a former power station was put on sale for £1.
Victoria power station – which has sat empty for over 80 years – has been put up for sale by Fife Council and Historic Scotland.
But the sale will only be completed on the condition that the new owner can come up with development plans which preserve the B-listed facade of the Kirkcaldy building.
The site is earmarked for only serious bidders, as part of the Kirkcaldy’s ongoing “charette” – a set of plans to culturally reinvigorate the town.
In London, the old Bankside Power Station, which sat disused for 19 years, was transformed into the Tate Modern, now one of the most iconic buildings in the world of art.
The Victoria Power Station – in the centre of town – provided electricity for the town’s tram network between 1902 and 1931.
The building eventually found its way onto Historic Scotland’s register of “at risk” buildings in 2000 – after 69 years of weather damage and dereliction had taken its toll.
In 2014 councillors approved plans for an 80-bedroom nursing home on the site, but it eventually emerged that it would cost millions to repair the historic facade of the building.
Plans to demolish the building to make way for the nursing home and a supermarket were also shelved as a result from Historic Scotland.
Now the building has been put on the market for £1 in a bid to find a new owner with suitable plans for the building.
David Queripal – of Montgomery Forgan, the agent acting on behalf of the current owners – said: “It has been put on the market for a nominal sum to gauge the interest and see if there is anyone who is willing to buy the building and restore the facade as part of its development plans.
“The developer is exploring all the options as Historic Scotland is adamant in its position that the facade of the building be retained.”
The plans to breathe new life into Kirkcaldy’s disused buildings insist they should “make space for grass-roots cultural renaissance.”
Many local politicians, however, think it would be better to demolish the old building and redevelop the site from scratch.
David Henderson – local resident and chairman of Kirkcaldy West Community Council said: “Nobody is interested in this piece of stonework which has been left so long it is a real eyesore and it will cost too much to repair.”
Power stations are frequently converted into art galleries and performance spaces, thanks to their central locations and large open interiors.
The Battersea Power Station in London has hosted a number of public events since it was decommissioned in 1983 – including motorsports competitions.
Historic Scotland’s intervention – however – has saved the Victoria Power Station from a similar fate to the Cockenzie station in East Lothian, which was demolished in November.