Concerns over Cupar high street store closures

Cupar high street.
Cupar high street.

Concerns have been raised over recent store closures in Cupar town centre.

The call comes after children’s outdoor clothing store Funky Rascal closed last week, following RBS and Pagan Osborne.

Alison Strachan, chairman of the Association of Businesses in Cupar & District, said the recent closures had been a cause for concern.

“Until a few months ago, even though businesses were closing, it felt like new businesses were coming into the town,” she said.

“It is concerning. I think it’s because it’s the bigger premises which have been made vacant.

“You wonder what sort of businesses will go into these premises.

“It feels a little bit more dramatic.”

ABCD represents the views of businesses throughout the town, and Alison said a number of issues had been raised.

As well as some concern about the new retail development soon to be built next to Tesco, Alison said: “I think there’s an issue with rates and rents in some parts of the town. It’s an issue for growth and it puts businesses off coming to the town.”

The concern follows a call from North East Fife MP Stephen Gethins, who has said more needs to be done to protect town centres and local businesses in the area.

He said: “More must be done to promote Cupar town centre as the shopping and business hub.

“We have some great independent shops and a huge free car park, and efforts should be made to encourage people into the town. I know there are plans for a mini retail park in South Road but we must be careful that this is not to the detriment of town centre trade.

“I have written to Fife Council to ask if they will ensure that in the event of a retail park being created there will be signposting to the town centre so that people are aware of the shops and services available.”

David Grove, lead officer for town centre development unit, said: “We’re working to create conditions where people want to visit, existing businesses want to stay and new businesses want to locate.”

Projects Fife Council has been involved with in Cupar include providing town centre business support grants, supporting physical premises improvements; The Cupar CARS and THI Heritage led regeneration programme, which, when finished, will see around £7 million investment in Cupar; and Cupar Could Community led charrette.