Kirkcaldy town centre’s future ... on a Post-It note

Some of the attendees at Thursday's Town Centre Summit in Kirkcaldy.
Some of the attendees at Thursday's Town Centre Summit in Kirkcaldy.

SELDOM has the Council chamber buzzed with such activity.

The summit on our town centre brought over 170 people into the heart of the Town House - businessmen, developers, pub owners, restaurateurs, retailers, pressures groups, plus officers, councillors and Gordon Brown MP.

And there’s every chance the transformation could begin with something written on a humble Post-It note!

The politicians promised this was not just a nother talking shop.

They were true to their word.

While we headed out for a coffee and a chat, they removed all the chairs and turned the chamber into a workshop, handed everyone Post-It notes and marker pens and asked us the blitz the suggestion boards dotted around the floor.

Challenge

Each posed a specific question or challenge - and sparked the debate which led to a veritable avalanche of responses.

This was as far removed from a sterile debate as you could get, and the format worked.

Instead of the meeting being sidetracked by a single issue - disabled access, parking or the pool, for example, - or used as a sounding board only for complaints, it got people talking and exchanging ideas.

They were active participants rather than passive audience members, and, standing at the entrance to the chamber, it was fascinating to watch the networking and the dialogue taking place across the floor.

There was a map you were welcome to draw on, and there was a booth to record your views to camera - options which helped to open up the event to all.

And, whisper it, the word was the Dunfermline event was good ... but Kirkcaldy’s was better!

In his opening address, Councillor Alex Rowley, leader of the administration, said: ’’We want to know what you think the priorities should be - what is good and not so good about the town centre.

‘‘No-one understands the town centre better than the people who work in it and who have businesses within it.

‘‘And it is vital that we listen to what businesses and communities say about our town centres.’’

Enthusiasm

He accepted that out of town retail parks were here to stay and that town centres had to work with, and around, them.

‘‘There is still much enthusiasm in our towns and we should capture ideas and maximise the excellent joint working of groups like Kirkcaldy4All.’’

Officers are now analysing all the responses with a view to preparing a report for the August meeting of the area committee.

Cllr Rowley also plans to write to everyone to thank them for taking part and give them more feedback.

Councillor Neil Crooks, chairman of Kirkcaldy Area Committee, who hosted the event, aded: “I have immense pride in my home town of Kirkcaldy.

“I am committed to exploiting every opportunity to improve the quality of the town centre and encouraging residents and visitors back into the High Street.

“We look forward to looking at all the suggestions and ideas. Some of these ideas can be a quick fix, with very little investment required to make a considerable difference. Others will need to be discussed, debated and prioritised.

‘‘It’s all positive for the future of the town centre.”