New Leven High Street store

The High Street premises in Leven before development
The High Street premises in Leven before development

ANOTHER empty shop in Leven has been given a new lease of life with the help of the Levenmouth Vacant Property Grant.

Fiona’s Diner is the latest local enterprise to take advantage of the Fife Council grant scheme, and is now open for business.

The new start café business has taken over the ground and first floor units at 74 High Street – previously the home of Brydies Bakery, which had been empty for more than a year.

Before it could open, Fiona’s Diner had to carry out a whole range of shop-fitting and improvement work, with the grant lowering the costs of a new kitchen, toilets and security system.

As a new start, the café also got invaluable help from the Business Gateway ‘Be Your Own Boss’ initiative in planning the new venture.

Alistair Burns, owner of Fiona’s Diner, said the grant, business support and catering-hospitality training from Kirkland High and Community College had been vital in helping realise the ambition of getting the building fit for purpose and ready to serve the public again.

“As well as helping us, the grant is helping to uplift the town centre,” he added. “The diner will provide jobs for up to eight people, with seating capacity on both floors, plus a children’s play area upstairs.”

Robin Presswood, Fife Council’s senior manager in business and employability in enterprise, planning and protective services, said: “The Vacant Property Grant can give practical help to regenerate the retail centres of Leven, Methil and Buckhaven. It can offer some much-needed support to local businesses to get empty premises occupied and contributing to the local economy.”

The grant can give up to £5000 per rateable unit towards a variety of investment projects in empty shops and other vacant commercial premises, including physical improvements inside and out, such as structural work and redecoration, as well as research studies, professional fees and marketing. Any business or property owner wanting to know more should contact Chris Wragg on 08451 555555 ext. 471851 or email chris.wragg@fife.gov.uk. To be eligible, premises need to have been empty for at least six months, be located within Leven Town Centre or the Neighbourhood Centres of Methil and Buckhaven, as defined by the adopted Mid Fife Local Plan.