£8m plan for Leven Town Centre

Leven Town Centre
Leven Town Centre

Leven could benefit from more than £8 million worth of investment according to plans drawn up following a town centre design study.

Willie Miller Urban Design, which conducted the study, was commissioned by Fife Council in December 2012 and carried out a public consultation last March.

Now, its final report is recommending the local authority focus on five key regeneration projects in the town centre, at a proposed total spend of £8.8m.

The report noted that Leven town centre was under pressure from a number of factors, including internet shopping, continued austerity and increased mobility which diverts trade to large retail shopping spaces.

Chris Wragg, from Fife Council’s enterprise, planning and protective services department, presented the findings to local councillors at the area committee, and said the report had already helped to inform funding bids, including an application to the Regeneration Capital Funding Grant Scheme, which could provide up to £1m of funding.

While most welcomed the report, there were concerns that given the extent of the proposed costs, there were no projections of town benefits.

Councillor Andrew Rodger said: “This is the best report I’ve seen in years and I hope things can happen because Leven deserves the uplift.”

Cllr David Alexander added: “As a concept, it is pretty magnificent and proves you can do anything if you have money. But there is one thing missing - what is going to be the financial benefit? I can see the potential here, but for now, they haven’t put it in to numbers.”

Chairman of the committee Cllr Tom Adams said: “I think it’s a good time for us to get together with all of the stakeholders and big businesses and have regular meetings, because we need to involve them in the final plan.”

1. The Parade (Bridge Street & Shorehead)

Retail core running from Riverside Road, through Bridge Street and Shorehead to the High Street

Aim of the project:

- To improve Shorehead to encourage people to spend more time there with better opportunities for socialising and events, and improve links with retail park and beyond.

Achieved through:

- Repaving and installation of flexible shared surface from Bridge Street, to Shorehead and along to North Street; better lighting and pop-up bollards to allow the space to be adapted for events; installation of semi-permanent events stage, extended pavement space for cafe/shop spill-out; relocation of taxi rank

Estimated cost: £1.3- 1.7 million

2. The Promenade

The seafront and riverfront running from the Bawbee Bridge through to the eastern end of the town.

Aim of the project:

- To promote the seafront as an event destination first, then create a new shore landscape.

Achieved through:

-Utilising the seafront for markets, festivals, civic events with minor landscaping; replace existing park with better facilities; creation of enhanced snack hub; creation of formal garden areas to complement Festival Gardens; build on existing skatepark to create more teen facilities; widening of footpaths and creation of new crossing points to improve connections to the town centre, Methil waterfront, etc.

Estimated cost: £5 - 7million

3. North High Street

Area includes Durie Street, the Library & Mitchell Street/ Commerical Road junctions

Aim of the project:

- Creation of hub spaces by changing the street layout; helping to redress imbalance between the north and south ends of the High Street;

Creation of a more pedestrian friendly environment; enhance the setting of “heritage/destination’ buildings such as the Library.

Achieved through:

- Introducing new surface materials; taking footways across roadways; adjusting road widths to slow traffic speeds andcreate gathering spaces such as a cafe and sun terrace

Installation of an events screen.

Estimated cost: £817,000- £1.1 million

4. Health centre & College

A key cluster of civic functions including the health centre, Job Centre, Post Office and College.

Aim of project:

-To re-shape the spaces between the buildings and Victoria Road frontage to improve look and feel of the area and encourage social gathering.

Achieved through:

- Widening of footways at Victoria Road bus stops to create seating, etc; reconfigure space between buildings to create small squares for social use; rationalised disabled parking.

Estimated cost: £411,000- £586,000

5. Parkhill

An essential social space off Aitken Street.

Aim of the project:

- To improve the environment outside of the school gates environment and encourage social gathering.

Achieved through:

- Widening footways and extending over the roadway to slow traffic; reserved parking for school drop off; setting back the playground walls to create more space and the introduction of seating; creation of greenspace at playground/street edge

Estimated cost: £274,000- £289,000