Kirkcaldy town centre calls in expert help

Kirkcaldy4All - launches new Kirkcaldy Now initiative, May 2019
Kirkcaldy4All - launches new Kirkcaldy Now initiative, May 2019

One of the UK’s leading urban development experts is coming to Kirkcaldy next week to lead a presentation on the future of our town centre.

Alan Harris, head of asset management and development at Montagu Evans, will launch Kirkcaldy’s Evolution at the Old Kirk on Friday, May 31.

Fife Free Press, P1 May 2 2019

Fife Free Press, P1 May 2 2019

It’s the first in a series of events organised by Kirkcaldy4All as it launches its Citizens Lab to bring new voices to the debate on how to bring real change to Kirkcaldy town centre.

Senior Scottish Government civil servants, officers from Fife Council, the town’s MP, MSPs and councillors have all been invited to attend together with representatives from numerous organisations who have an interest in the town’s future.

Mr Harris is a specialist in the local authority sector, advising councils and the private sector on evolution and regeneration.

His presence is viewed as something of a coup.

Harry Cormie, who chairs Kirkcaldy4All, said he was delighted to bring him to town.

He added: “Representatives from Kirkcaldy4All have been in touch with Alan and his colleagues for some months. They met to talk through our ideas for a framework for growth and we are very much looking forward to his presentation.”

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The discussion chimes with the launch of the Kirkcaldy Now and the Citizens’ Lab as the BID companuy – which represents 400 town centre businesses – takes a lead role in the key debate, but it is one which needs a host of organisations on board to deliver real change.

Bill Harvey, BID manager, said: “We can’t do this on our own. This has to be a proactive collaboration between public and private sectors.

“We are simply trying to facilitate that process and shine a light on what the town has to offer.”

He pointed to the words of Aileen Campbell, the Scottish Government’s Communities Secretary, from the recently announced Investing in Communities Fund, in which she said: “The best people to decide how to tackle local challenges are the people who live and work in the area.

“The Government’s new fund is designed to empower communities to have more control over of their own affairs and take forward more of the activities they’ve identified as being vital to their local area.”

Mr Harvey added: “ That is what our framework is about: by Kirkcaldy, for Kirkcaldy.”

The BID hopes the new events will act as a catalyst for debate, discussion, and action.

Mr Harvey said: “This event will be the first in a series of presentations run by the BID to help demonstrate the opportunities that Kirkcaldy offers – not only to existing businesses but also to companies and organisations who are looking to invest.

“That is key to all of this – investment that will generate real economic development to create jobs and sustainable businesses.

“We’re on the front line and there are real challenges facing our town.

“Our framework for growth will bring all interested parties to the table to identify not only what can be done but also when and how.

“This is about repositioning Kirkcaldy – to demonstrate why people will want to live, work, play, visit and invest in our town.”

The seminar with Mr Harris follows months of work behind the scenes with the BID speaking to a wide range of key people to spotlight what Kirkcaldfy has to offer to potential investors and developers.

Mr Harris said: “Successful towns need far more collaboration between the public and private sectors as they evolve to meet the needs of their communities.

“To create genuine sustainable place making requires a long-term approach.

“I’m looking forward to talking about successful delivery and examples of forward-thinking places who are leading this evolutionary change.”