July 2, 2008
Community aim to secure future of Ecology Centre
Each year, over 5000 people visit the community run Ecology Centre based in Kinghorn, Fife. The Centre’s lease is due to run out soon and it is facing an uncertain future. Using the Land Reform Act, another local group, Kinghorn Community Land Initiative have registered interest in buying a number of nearby sites. If successful, KCLI are hopeful that they will be able to offer this highly valued local project long term security and a site on which a new Ecology Centre could be built
Recent talks between Kinghorn Developments Ltd. who own the land on the east side of Kinghorn Loch and The Ecology Centre, could secure the future for the fast-developing centre as well as allowing ownership of the land to pass to the people of Kinghorn.
Demand for the services of The Ecology Centre, which celebrates its 10th Anniversary this year, continues to increase but the lease on their present home at Craigencalt Farm has only a few years left to run. Chairman of the charity, Tony Payne, said ‘This is a fantastic opportunity for us to build a new centre that the whole community can be proud of. It will provide a new base for The Ecology Centre and we will be looking for ideas from everyone that has an interest in Kinghorn Loch.’
Lottery support is already being sought to finance the new base but the support of the community is vital. Comprehensive consultation will start very shortly to make sure that everyone has the opportunity to give their views. Operations Manager, Ronnie Mackie, said, ‘We hope to provide facilities for other community groups as well as for ourselves and our clients from those that use the loch for sport to individuals that enjoy a quiet walk.’
Kinghorn Community Land Association has a Registered Community Interest in this land under land reform legislation. This gives them first option to buy the land. Chairman, Chris Mitchell, stated, ‘We are delighted to be working in partnership with The Ecology Centre to realise this exciting opportunity. Consultations and the backing of our members and local people are crucial but we believe there is strong support. It will start to restore Kinghorn’s historic claims to the Loch area.’
Currently, over 5,000 people a year use the educational expertise provided by The Ecology Centre, while many thousands more use the site on a casual basis. The charity is standing by for a TV appearance in the near future as they are down to the last three in this area to win the Lottery’s Primetime programme.