Comment: Action needed to tackle domino effect on Kirkcaldy High Street closures

Pic: George McLuskie
Pic: George McLuskie

Another major chain store contracts, and Kirkcaldy loses again.

Debenhams’ announcement it is to shut the town‘s High Street shop comes as no surprise to anyone who has watched it toil.

But the fact it is the only store in Scotland among the 22 earmarked for closure just sticks in the throat.

Once again, Kirkcaldy is being kicked when it is down.

Tesco, BhS, M&S, several banks and a raft of smaller, long established stores such as ACA, the Pancake Place and others - all gone. Toppled like dominoes.

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The real fear is there could be more closures and, the reality is, there is nothing we can do to prevent them happening.

So, we have to focus on what we can do.

And, after a hellish start of 2019, there must be a sense of urgency about the actions we can take, the conversations we need to happen, and the connections we need to make.

There is absolutely no doubt that announcements, such as Debenham’s closure, make it even harder to change perceptions about our town centre; that there is nothing there, it’s dying, it’s stagnant.

But we have to try.

It’s clear that the High Street of the future has to be very different from its past.

Retail, based around the town’s already established independent sector, has to sit next to a much more diverse leisure sector, and a growing coffee shop/cafe culture - places where people meet.

Add in a greater residential presence and the High Street we see dwindling before our eyes can be turned around.

It won’t happen overnight, - but it won’t happen at all unless we start to pick up the pace.

We didn’t respond with the urgency necessary the moment M&S gave Kirkcaldy six months notice it was quitting the town centre.

Now Debenhams is following suit.

We must grasp this opportunity to turn talk of transformation into reality.

Action, not words, is what Kirkcaldy needs.