Ambitious plans for Glenrothes town centre given the go ahead

Mark & Spencer is looking to set up shop on the CISWO site in Glenrothes.
Mark & Spencer is looking to set up shop on the CISWO site in Glenrothes.

Ambitious £6.5m plans to reshape Glenrothes town centre and attract major retailers including Marks and Spencer, have been given the green light.

Members of Fife Council’s central area planning committee, today (Wednesday), unanimously approved a proposal put forward by Fife-based construction firm Easy Living Developments to relocate the town’s popular CISWO Club and to redevelop the vacated land in North Street.

The go ahead for the new retail complex, pub restaurant and car parking facilities is understood to have already attracted the attention of big name retailers including Marks and Spencer, KFC and Frankie and Benny’s, who have all shown an interest in a finished development.

Speaking at the meeting, Councillor Altany Craik, said: “Right development, right place, just needs to be the right design – if we get that right it will be great for the town.”

His thoughts were echoed by other local councillors during the meeting.

Councillor Bill Brown, chairman of Glenrothes area committee, said the development was an “absolute must” for the town.

Councillor John Beare commented: “We need to trigger a night-time/evening economy and this could do it.”

The decision effectively ends a decade of stalemate, false dawns and broken promises which has, until now, hampered any chance of revitalising the town centre.

And the decision has been hailed as a hugely significant one for Glenrothes.

“This development will breathe new life into the town, it’s long overdue and a hugely significant and welcomed decision,” said David Nelson, CISWO Club secretary.

He added: “Glenrothes has had more than its fair share of broken promises, scotched supermarket plans and successive political administrations failing to deliver on plans to revitalise the town centre in the last decade.”

A change of use to Fife Council’s social work offices in South Street, which was also granted by councillors, will now see the building extended to accommodate a 550+ capacity main event hall allowing the club to attract more of the lucrative BDO international darts tournaments.

And an agreement has already been reached to amalgamate the existing CISWO bowling club with the Dovecot club in Woodside.

Despite opposition from the neighbouring Kingdom Shopping Centre owners Mars Pension Group, planning officer Elspeth Cook told councillors: “This town centre development site is capable of accommodating a range of retail and leisure uses without any negative impacts on the wider town centre. The introduction of a new evening activity through the pub restaurant and food uses is a positive feature.”