THEY'VE been left dangling for years but now the team behind Lochgelly's new £1.5 million indoor rock climbing centre can finally see the summit.

It's been a decade since the idea arose to transform the old St Andrew's Church on Bank Street into Rockgelly, a Scottish centre of excellence for the sport which could attract more than 15,000 visitors a year.

Meetings are set to take place with Fife Council which should hopefully result in the last amount of funding required for the project to go ahead, with building work set to take four months.

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Thom Humphrey, managing director of Rockgelly, said: "It’s been a long time of going round and round in circles.

Central Fife Times: A drawing of what Rockgelly, the new £1.5m indoor rock climbing centre in Lochgelly, could look like when it is completed.A drawing of what Rockgelly, the new £1.5m indoor rock climbing centre in Lochgelly, could look like when it is completed. (Image: Rockgelly)

"Covid set everything back, and then after Covid we had picked the funding back up, everything was ready to be done and then the prices started going up.

"It started a vicious cycle where we kept having to go back for more funding, and by the time it was approved the prices went up even more.”

He continued: “Once the funding is sorted, we’re ready to go. The plans are all drawn up. Planning permission is in.

"We just need to get the last bit of funding. Then we’ll press go on the building contracts and then about four months later we should be up and running.

“I really can’t put a date on it. It’s absolutely going in the right direction and the support from the council has been great.”

After acquiring the church it had to be made wind and watertight, before being restored and refurbished, and the plans include a cafe, children's soft play area and bouldering facilities.

Central Fife Times: And this is what Rockgelly looks like inside. Quite the transformation. And this is what Rockgelly looks like inside. Quite the transformation. (Image: Rockgelly)

The "wow factor" comes from the extension at the rear of the building, a 12 metres tall tower containing the climbing wall.

A recent meeting with the council had to be shelved but Thom is optimistic everything should soon fall into place.

He said: "We’re hoping that we can get it rescheduled and then after that we will hopefully be making some big announcements.”

The idea for Rockgelly arose in 2013 and Fife Council allocated an initial £150,000 from their budget in February 2014.

But funding issues and the pandemic have led to huge delays.

Thom previously told the Times: "When we started this in 2013 we naively thought we could turn it round in a year or two!"

Further plans were approved in November 2019 while councillors nodded through proposals in February 2021 to add a public square at the site.

The project has moved at a snail's pace and this week Thom admitted: "The scale of it is the problem.

"We don’t want to take any money off the community, and they’ve supported us throughout all of this.

"Maybe once we’re getting close to reaching the goal, we would look into ways people can fundraise.

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"As soon as we get the big chunk, and we’re only a small way away, we would look into doing that."

Head of business and employability at Fife Council, Gordon Mole, said: "We need some clarity from the Rockgelly Community Interest Company on their current plans for the building and if plans to develop a climbing facility are still viable.

"We hope to meet with them soon to review their current position and see what support we can offer."