Why we should make the most of our seafront

Ty Reekie with a passenger
Ty Reekie with a passenger

If you’re lucky enough to grow up in a seaside town, you probably take it for granted.

It’s only when you move to a completely land-locked area that you realise what you’re missing.

To many locals it’s a subject on a par with background noise – so bland it never warrants a second thought, like paint drying, tax returns, or Phil Collins.

Here in Kirkcaldy we seem to habitually fail to make the most of what is a terrific focal point for regeneration – the seafront.

Growing up here we just accept that the whole area of the prom amounts to little more than a hideous grey wall. As an idea, it barely even registers on our radar.

In fact to many locals it’s a subject on a par with background noise – so bland it never warrants a second thought, like paint drying, tax returns, or Phil Collins.

But why does that have to be the case? What if the prom was used during the 51 weeks a year the Links Market is away.

A small relief then, to hear whispers of future ideas for the area which involve down-sizing the dual-carriageway and using the space for something far more interesting.

And what plans, might you ask, are mooted to fill the vast expanse opposite those two giant empty multi-storey car parks? Well, more car parks, apparently.

That’s right.

There was talk of brightening the area up with trees a while back, but it was shot down with the laughably pessimistic cry of “the trees will distract drivers”.

I drove to work this morning past countless trees, shrubs, and items of greenery – I can exclusively reveal that my heroic journey through this perilous labyrinth of distraction was made miraculously without incident. Don’t worry, I’m ok.

This week we’ve seen a novel and invigorating idea for the seafront; the rickshaw trips along the coast, which would give people – both locally-based and beyond – a reason to come to Kirkcaldy.

{READ MORE: Prom boosted by rickshaw plans|http://www.fifetoday.co.uk/news/fife-town-s-prom-boosted-by-rickshaw-plans-1-4482993?|Click here}

As big name retail outlets evacuate from town centres across the country, retreating to the spacious greenbelts, it’s clearly time to think about what would bring people in.

I’m going to go out on a limb here, and say that a giant car park probably won’t cut it. Especially when we have two right next to the Mercat shopping centre which are often far from full.

Going back a few years, there was a food court in the Mercat, which had a variety of small eateries surrounding a number of tables. But the true wonder of this first-floor space was that the seats by the window offered a spectacular view across the Forth.

Looking out across the sea, even on the dullest of days, the water looked clearer, calmer, washing away the downbeat outlook for our home town, as for just a moment you got a glimpse of Kirkcaldy’s true potential.

If you’re wondering what happened to this magic window, a large chain shop took over and blocked off access as part of their store room.

Ultimately we need more ideas based around leisure and enjoyment for the seafront and town centre area generally.

Any endeavour which helps brighten up our seafront is to be welcomed. But with the rickshaw plans, could it be that at last things appear to be moving in the right direction?