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Council Pledges Funds for Dutch Village

Updated: Mar 9

Fife Council has pledged a quarter of a million pounds to the restoration of the once picturesque Dutch Village in Craigtoun Country Park.


Built over a century ago, the Dutch Village is a charming collection of red-roofed buildings that form an island in the park’s boating lake. In its heyday, it was a top tourist attraction and, in 2015, was listed as one of Scotland’s 100 best buildings by the Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland. However, the Dutch Village has been grossly neglected over the last 30 years and is crumbling into disrepair. It is currently on Scotland’s Buildings at Risk Register. 


“From the 1990s onwards, Fife Council allowed the structure to deteriorate, and it was closed in the early 2000s because it was unsafe,” said Henry Paul, the Funding Director of Friends of Craigtoun Park. Friends of Craigtoun Park, an organisation of concerned community members, has run the park’s facilities since 2012 with financial assistance from the council.


Thanks to a strong multi-year campaign by Friends of Craigtoun Park, the Fife Council’s 2024-2025 annual budget, decided on 22 February, 2024, includes £250,000 towards the restoration of the Dutch Village. The one-off investment has cross-party support.


Fife Council shared on their social media that “The repairs will stabilise the site and prevent the loss of the deteriorating feature. It will also allow time for the park’s community trust to source funding for their overall ambitions to restore and reopen the iconic park feature.” According to Mr. Paul, approximately four million pounds is needed to repair the Dutch Village to a usable state.


St Andrews student, Angus Gray, who regularly visits Craigtoun Park for the weekly Park Run remarked that the Dutch Village “looks more like a ruin than a building that could be used. It would be lovely to see it fixed up to a point where people could actually come and go and use it as it should be.”

 

If its history is an indicator, the Dutch Village could be a setting for dances, outdoor theatre productions, and family holidays. Designed by Paul Waterhouse, the same architect who designed Younger Hall in St Andrews, the Dutch Village included a summer house, an ice cream booth, and a cafe with a dance floor. 


In a statement published after the budget announcement, Fife Council’s Labour leader, David Ross, said that one-off investments, like the restoration of the Dutch Village, have “only been possible because [the council] will benefit from additional one-off income next year and because of the efforts of our finance and service staff in the careful management of their budgets.” He also warned that such investments will be difficult in coming years because “the financial picture over future years continues to be challenging.” 


The Friends of Craigtoun Park are building a collection of old photographs of the Dutch Village to strengthen the site’s history and case for restoration and further investment. They ask that any members of The Saint’s readership contact them if they have photos from the RAG Week parties that used to be hosted in the Dutch Village.


Photo by Friends of Craigtoun Park



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