Kirkcaldy town centre has ‘duty to evolve’ says Mercat boss

Entrance to the Mercat Shopping Centre, Kirkcaldy
Entrance to the Mercat Shopping Centre, Kirkcaldy

The retail crisis which has seen a raft of big names quit the High Street is a major challenge for the Mercat Shopping Centre.

Its business model is based heavily on shops filling its units.

But it believes it has a big role to play in creating the town centre of the future.

The Mercat described the loss of M&S as “hugely disappointing news for the town”, but believes a move to mixed-use – with more leisure and residential opportunities – holds the key.

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Stephen Roberts, centre manager, said: “Despite this setback, we remain positive and are fully committed to bringing great names to Kirkcaldy,”

He said opportunities for the unit are being explored and further announcements would be made in the future.

The Mercat, he added, was part of the town-wide debate on the road ahead,

“Kirkcaldy needs to come together more than ever for a coherent look at how, and where, we can future proof,” he said.

“A fundamental part of re-energising the High Street would be for stakeholders to work towards family-friendly and welcoming atmospheres in all corners of Kirkcaldy’s shopping areas.

“This will improve footfall in the town centre and encourage more people to visit the shopping centre and support local businesses.

“With the retail market contracting like it is, Kirkcaldy has a duty to evolve in this area and others. Residential growth, community and civic spaces are just some examples of how introducing mixed-use environments can open the door to a wealth of potential for securing additional investment, supporting local businesses, creating employment and driving positive surges in the economy.

“We strongly believe that bringing multiple, active uses through carefully considered partnerships and collaboration will be instrumental for restoring vibrancy and people’s faith in the High Street.”