For sale at £1 but The Postings in Kirkcaldy once thrived

The Postings Shopping Centre, Kirkcaldy - up for auction with a �1 price tag (Pic: Fife Free Press)
The Postings Shopping Centre, Kirkcaldy - up for auction with a �1 price tag (Pic: Fife Free Press)

Friday morning and there are more pigeons sitting on the railings outside The Postings than there are people in it.

A place which once bustled with activity is dead, despite it once being a busy walkway from the bus station into the heart of the High Street.

The Postings Shopping Centre, Kirkcaldy - up for auction with a �1 price tag  (Pic: Fife Free Press)

The Postings Shopping Centre, Kirkcaldy - up for auction with a �1 price tag (Pic: Fife Free Press)

It looks, and feels, deserted.

The fabric of the building is tatty, the steps leading down Bell Inn Wynd to the High Street are a mess – and have been for years.

Today, the red and white barriers have all been blown over. They simply lie on the ground, abandoned.

The metal on the doors is rusting and flaking, and all bar a handful of shops sit dark and empty. It feels as if no-one cares anymore.

(Pic: Fife Free Press)

(Pic: Fife Free Press)

The demise of The Postings has been long, slow, and painful to watch.

The days when it boasted good commuter footfall as folk poured off buses into town belong to a bygone generation.

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The Postings Shopping Centre, Kirkcaldy  (Pic: Fife Free Press)

The Postings Shopping Centre, Kirkcaldy (Pic: Fife Free Press)

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In the 1980s, Ramsay Travel was the place everyone went to book their holiday. The Postings also boasted a fish shop and a bakers, a large sports shop which then became a card shop, and many an hour was spent rifling through the racks of HINRG Records. It was home to a tourist information centre.

The first small traders all squeezed into the rather fancily named Knightsbridge arcade which offered everything from TV repairs, sewing and tailoring to computer repairs when the very first PCs came on to the scene. The shutters were long since pulled down on the pale green and beige market stall units.

But did the £4.2m development ever live up to the hype?

In 1981, Kirkcaldy had more shopping space per head of population than Edinburgh, Glasgow, Dundee and Aberdeen. The Postings was built simply because the demand for shops was there – the town was the jewel in Fife’s retail crown – despite the fact the Mercat was already established on the other side of the High Street.

It opened with just seven of the 17 shops filled, but letting agent who took the Fife Free Press on a pre-opening tour countered: “Look, when outside money does not come into town, that is when it is time to start worrying,” he said. “and where are all these empty units on the High Street that people are talking about?”

Sadly they are everywhere today.

The Posting’s decline has mirrored that of retail across the High Street. The fact it is now up for sale with a pitiful £1 price tag pretty much sums up the town centre’s standing right now.

It also sums up the lack of interest from owners Columbia Threadneedle.

Nothing has happened since Tesco quit in 2015 – a closure which has had a profound impact on footfall across the town centre.

Now we face another double whammy. M&S shuts on February 5, The Postings goes under the hammer ten days later.

News of The Postings’ knockdown price sparked huge debate, and a raft of ideas of what could have – some would say, should have – been a long time ago.

With The Mercat yet to deliver on a plan for a cinema, many asked why on earth Threadneedle didn’t pursue that as a way of not only filling the Tesco site, but completely revamping the whole Postings from the bus station right through.

Others feel it is only a matter of time before the building is razed and forgotten, and houses built on what remains a prime piece of land running the length of Hunter Street.

The current owners say the £1 price tag is attracting a lot of interest – of course it is, but the headlines it generated did nothing for the reputation of our town centre which has already endured a hellish start to 2019 with the loss of two established businesses, ACA Sports and The Pancake Place, and is braced for the closure of M&S.

Getting The Postings off the books may be all that matters to Columbia Threadneedle, but who buys it and, more importantly, what they plan to do with it, are or huge importance to Kirkcaldy.

There must be immediate talks with any new owner and a clear vision for what lies ahead.

It’s difficult to see retail figuring in the future of a development that was once hailed as a mecca for shoppers.