A move to allow the increase of convenience food retail space at Kirkcaldy Retail Park has boosted the prospect of new jobs in the town.
The decision, made by Councillors at Wednesday’s central area planning committee has cleared the way for retail giant Marks and Spencer to position a second store in the town.
Supporting the application, Kirkcaldy Councillor Neil Crooks said: “In the last five-to-10 years over 2000 homes have been built in the north of Kirkcaldy and more are to follow.
‘‘But they were granted with no retail outlet provision. This approval will allow us to change that.”
He added: “We have to accept that our shopping habits are changing and we have to adapt.
“Kirkcaldy High Street is not on its knees.
“We have had 15 recent new openings and it’s still the heart of the town.
“Our town centre will not die or fall of the map because of this decision.”
Cllr John Wincott added: “ With the recent sad demise of Tesco this offers a large potential for employment and we should welcome that.”
Fears that the approval could threaten the future of the existing High Street store were allayed when officers informed the committee that the retailer had already offered a written undertaking not to close the town centre Marks and Spencer store .
A planning officers report had recommended refusal citing a possible detrimental impact on the vitality and viability Kirkcaldy town centre.
Backing that view, Councillor Marie Penman said she couldn’t see Kirkcaldy being able to sustain both given the current economic climate, and pointed to just one Scottish town centre - Perth - as having two M&S stores.
Fellow Kirkcaldy Councillor George Kay’s suggestion of a moratorium to allow a fuller understanding of how best to support the future of the town’s main High Street was rejected after it was revealed a decision had to be made immediately. To postpone a decision would have allowed the applicant to appeal to the Scottish Government on the grounds of non determination.
Approval was granted by eight votes to five.