Cupar goes digital in bid to attract visitors

Plans could include a performance of the famous play A Satire of Three Estates, which was first performed in 1552 in Cupar
Plans could include a performance of the famous play A Satire of Three Estates, which was first performed in 1552 in Cupar

Organisations in Cupar are being urged to support a lottery funding bid that would propel the historic market town into the digital age.

An online facility called ‘Digital Cupar’ is at the heart of an ambitious plan to revitalise the town and turn it into a visitor destination in its own right.

And the group behind the project, Cupar Development Trust, believe they have a good chance of securing funding under the Heritage Lottery Fund’s Great Place scheme, currently being piloted in Scotland.

Only a handful of projects – between five and 10 –will be successful, but if the Cupar plan is one of them, it will receive £600,000 worth of funding over three years.

The idea is to build on the town’s considerable history and heritage to promote it as a vibrant and distinctive market town that visitors will want to explore rather than passing through en route to St Andrews.

Already the Trust, in conjunction with Cupar Heritage, has produced a heritage trail map of the town and, thanks to an Activating Ideas grant from the Scottish Government, has commissioned a firm of heritage consultants to come up with ideas.

As well as using Cupar’s historic landmarks as the basis of the plan, the consultants – Edinburgh-based CMC Associates – are looking at ways of optimising the town’s cultural activities.

“We want to re-brand Cupar as a 21st century market town with busy shops, a buzzing town centre and a lively arts scene,” said Trust chairman David Kirk.

“However it is all very well making Cupar more attractive, but if no-one knows about it you’re not going to attract visitors.

“That’s why the creation of Digital Cupar is central to our plans.

“It will be a community-based online facility linked to interpretation panels and signage that will give Cupar a recognisable identity.

“We believe we have a good case to put to the Heritage Lottery Fund,” he continued.

“We don’t have a plan B, but I think we stand a very good chance.

“Cupar has a significant history and a unique townscape with important heritage assets.

“There are many organisations in Cupar doing great things and by working together we can turn the town into a rewarding visitor destination and a great place to live and work.”

The Trust should know by the end of December whether its application is successful.