The LARGE number of charity shops along with many discount ‘pound shops’, is leading to Kirkcaldy’s High Street losing its distinctive identity, claims Counciller Alice Soper.
She sees charity shops as a loss of revenue to the Council, as they get 100 per cent business rates relief, but also believes it is better for a shop to be occupied and trading rather than lie empty.
“As the type of products available at charity shops are pretty much the same, like the pound shops, it means that many are selling similar merchandise.”
She is also wary of the effect such shops have on other retailers.
“If they are providing a worthwhile service, so be it, but I would much prefer the town to have a decent general department store that sells a wide variety of goods, along with more shoe shops, for example, as there are only two in the High Street and they are restricted in the range and variety of styles they offer.”
Alistair Cameron, of ACA Sports, believes there should be a restriction on the number of charity shops in the country’s high streets, and in Kirkcaldy in particular.
He said: “They do a good job in raising funds for their particular sector, but there should be a limit of how many there are in the one place.
“To have so many in such a small area gives a very bad impression and the perception of the town suffers. It is now getting out of hand in Kirkcaldy and the level of competition they are providing to other traders gives them an unfair advantage, particularly where they are selling competing products, such as Fairtrade products which are also sold by mainstream traders.
“It has got way out of hand in Kirkcaldy.”