A work in progress but we are getting there ...

Bill Harvey from Kirkcaldy4All with comedian Jo Caufield at the launch of the 2011 comedy festival.
Bill Harvey from Kirkcaldy4All with comedian Jo Caufield at the launch of the 2011 comedy festival.
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IT’S A work in progress, but Kirkcaldy4All is beginning to make a positive impact on Kirkcaldy town centre.

Launched in April 2010, Kirkcaldy4All is a Business Improvement District (BID), set up following a ballot of local business owners who agreed to pay a levy to support initiatives to enhance their local area and benefit their own activities.

No one is pretending the town centre does not have significant issues to overcome.

But crowd-pulling events, improvements to create a safer and more attractive environment, and promotional work by Kirkcaldy4All are all steps in the right direction.

Carroll Haxton (pictured), chairman of the BID board which is made up of local business people, said: “Kirkcaldy4All’s vision is to promote the town centre as a place where people want to work, shop, and spend their leisure time in a welcoming environment.

“The BID gives businesses the opportunity to shape the future of their town centre, and the board is working hard to make a difference and improve the area for the benefit of everyone.

Social hub

“We are trying to raise the profile of Kirkcaldy town centre, offering the right mix of retailers, and creating a social hub and thriving night time economy to attract both local people and visitors.

“We want to tell everyone Kirkcaldy town centre is open for business.”

Town centres across the country have suffered due to the demise of local, traditional industries and the growth of out-of-town retailing and, latterly, online shopping.

However, special events – Kirkcaldy4All brought the Halfords Tour Series and promoted the popular motorbike races on Kirkcaldy beach – have attracted people to the town.

It’s also backing the Kirkcaldy Comedy Festival in October and has events lined up for Christmas, as well as a couple of surprises.

Further initiatives have included working with local groups to create floral displays, and offering a range of support measures, including grants in partnership with Fife Council for shop front improvements, shop fittings, marketing and training.

Re-ballot

Bill Harvey, manager of Kirkcaldy4All, said: “It will be the levy payers who decide in a re-ballot at the end of out five-year term if we have been successful and whether we should continue.

“If we can make the town centre a place people want to come to and we can drive up footfall and dwell time, then it’s up to the retailers to attract customers through their doors to spend their money.

“And if footfall rises, then Kirkcaldy will move up the rankings, and large stores looking to expand will take notice and consider setting up here.

“Ultimately, we want to create a buzz in the town centre and earn Kirkcaldy the reputation of being a fun place and thriving place to visit.”