I was 10 days from closing

KIRKCALDY;'IAN MCEWAN of Speedy Snaps'Photo ; WALTER NEILSON
KIRKCALDY;'IAN MCEWAN of Speedy Snaps'Photo ; WALTER NEILSON
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A KIRKCALDY shop owner claims the High Street regeneration works nearly cost him his business.

Ian McEwan, who runs ‘Speedy Snaps’ in the town’s west end, told the Press he was just 10 days away from shutting up shop last year.

His comments came as the works resumed on Monday after the festive break.

Mr McEwan said thankfully the workmen were now finished outside his premises, but he said they almost forced him out of the High Street.

He said: “The problem was instead of concentrating on one area, they went back and forward between six different areas -- that’s why it took so long.

“The work went on outside my business for 12 weeks and it meant customers couldn’t get access. At times I had phone calls from customers who told me they just couldn’t get in.

Business impact

“This happened at the end of last year when it was our busiest time and it nearly put me out of business.”

Jackie Skinner, owner of La Speranza cafe and snack bar, also based in the west end, said deliveries were affected as drivers couldn’t park on the High Street and had to carry goods from Whytescauseway, adding: “The works are a total waste of money and we are not getting any compensation for this - we have had no reduction in our rates.”

A staff member at W H Smith said it had been difficult for customers to gain entry to the shop when the works were outside last year.

The works – managed by Fife Council and delivered by Graham Construction – are now into their second of three phases.

The stretch from Whytehouse Avenue to Nicol Street will be upgraded as the third and final phase.

Better look

Councillor Alice Soper, chairman of Kirkcaldy Area Committee, said: “We all expect some disruption but the improvement works have to go on.

‘‘It will be worth it in the long run.

‘‘I know some businesses have complained about the affect on trade but the bad weather also had an impact.

“The High Street was full of clutter. The works will mean a lot more open space.”

She added: “The workmen have tried to accommodate traders as much as possible. I sympathise with them and ask them to bear with us while the works continue.”