Design framework is the key to the future development of Kirkcaldy’s town centre

Neil Crooks, chairman of Kirkcaldy Area Committee.
Neil Crooks, chairman of Kirkcaldy Area Committee.

“Disbelief” was the first reaction of Councillor Neil Crooks, chairman of Kirkcaldy area committee, to the news of M&S closing.

He said the store was reported to be the beneficiary of the loss of both Tesco and BhS – and had given a commitment to the High Street when it opened afoodhall at Fife Retail Park.

“More high level politicians than myself are pursuing these issues directly with the company,” he said,

“If these discussions fail to halt the closure the significance is probably even more challenging than Tesco and BhS because of the cumulative effect.”

It’s three years since the Town Centre Design and Development framework for Kirkcaldy was published – it outlined four distinct quarters incuding retail to social to heritage.

He said: “This document remains the key source for future development.

“As far as the empty stores are concerned, there is clearly no silver bullet solution or it would have been fired by now.

“What we do have are committed groups and individuals who have Kirkcaldy in our hearts who will work collectively to deal with the challenges presented.

The town centre has been moving towards smaller independent niche type businesses for several years and will continue to develop these opportunities.

“Rates and car parking are part of the solution, but, as usual, its complicated.

“I wish we could get workable solutions more quickly – and I will keep on trying to achieve movement on these.

“While rates and car parking are an easy source for blame, our local area committee committed to reduce parking charges and car park useage did not increase.”