Green light for Mercat plans

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PLANS which will “set the scene for Kirkcaldy over the next 50 to 100 years” were given unanimous approval by the local authority.

All of Kirkcaldy’s 12 councillors voted in favour of the plans to massively increase the size of the Mercat shopping centre to include a new supermarket, shop units, a multi-storey car park, cinema and food court as well as a public piazza style open space and possible hotel.

And the proposals were hailed as “massive for the future of the town” by one councillor and “vitally important in kick starting” the regeneration of Kirkcaldy town centre by another.

Consent was given for planning permission in principle, with the development to take place in five phases beginning with the construction of a multi-storey car park, but hingeing on the developers, City Site Estates, securing a supermarket to fill an extensive unit within the centre.

Councillors expressed concerns that there would be enough car parking to cater for the removal of surface and existing multi-storey car parks, but assurances were given by transport manager Dave Frew that it was a condition of the consent that “more than enough” spaces would be provided.

He also told the Kirkcaldy Area Committee that a legal agreement would be drawn up to ensure the town’s road network would be improved so it was able to cope with increased traffic.

Councillor Susan Leslie said: “This is such a big development for Kirkcaldy.

‘’We have talked about this around this table – about the importance of Kirkcaldy town centre and how concerned we are to revitalise the High Street for the local economy, for jobs and for money coming into the area.

“This application is vitally important in kick starting things to make that change happen.”

Councillor Neil Crooks added: “For those of us who have lived here all our lives this is a life changing decision.”

Jim McCain, group property manager with City Site Estates, said: “We are absolutely delighted to get unanimous consent from the committee.’

‘‘This will allow us to get on with the work.”