A proposal to bring a longed-for cinema back to the heart of Kirkcaldy is finally on the table - but a deal with Vue is still proving elusive.
Delicate negotiations have been ongoing for months between the cinema operator and The Mercat in a bid to build a multiplex on the site of Kirkcaldy’s old swimming pool.
There have been too many false dawns for me to celebrate prematurelyCllr Neil Crooks
The Press understands a number of obstacles stood in the way of a viable deal, including an approximate £2.5million funding gap and concerns over car parking provision.
A recent meeting between Fife Council, acting for Mercat’s owners LaSalle Management, and Vue made significant headway to tackling those difficulties and it is understood a proposal is finally being considered.
However, Robin Presswood, head of service, would only confirm the Economic Development team was in discussion with LaSalle Management regarding what longer term development options could viably be pursued.
“Whilst specific challenges remain within the commercial property market in being able to assemble viable development proposals, Fife Council will continue to offer its support as part of the feasibility process,” he said.
Meanwhile, Vue is simply standing by a statement originally issued in January.
A spokesman said: “Vue Entertainment continually look for potential new site options and we are aware of the site development at Kirkcaldy.
He added: “The development is still in the early planning stages and so no final decisions have been made yet.”
Given the delicate nature of previous negotiations, Councillor Neil Crooks, chairman of the Kirkcaldy area committee, was circumspect on the chances of a deal being struck soon.
He said: “There have been too many false dawns for me to celebrate prematurely but I know discussions appear closer now to a workable deal than at any point in the past.
“We have shown as a council a total commitment to our town centre and waterfront, investing in infrastructure which attracts private investors’ attention. We will be bringing our town centre Time for Action report into the Mercat later this month for two days of conversation to capture the public’s views on current thinking.
“The need for a cinema sits within those plans and I will be the first to celebrate if, and hopefully when, an agreement is reached.”
Bill Harvey, manager of Kirkcaldy4All added: “We would urge all parties to try and strike a deal.
“The benefits to the town centre and Kirkcaldy as a whole would be significant – it would a real boost after having the blow of losing Tesco and other shops.”