“Saddened, deeply frustrated and angered.”
That was the reaction of Councillor Alistair Cameron to the M&S closure news.
As a town centre businessman –he launched ACA Sports in the east end of the High Street – he is acutely aware of the challenges facing retailers, and the need for the area to find a new role.
He also took M&S to task for quitting a town which has backed it across generations, adding: “They knew full well the devastating impact this would have on our High Street – it’s a callous betrayal of loyal customers.
“And it’s a kick in the teeth for Kirkcaldy at a time when so many positive things are happening.”
Cllr Cameron said the demise of M&S could be traced to the council’s decision to close Tolbooth Street car park and build a leisure centre on it – a move fiercely opposed by many traders .
“That started the decline,” he said. “It isn’t the only reason, but it was one of the biggest mistake.
“There is nothing Fife Council or the Scottish Government can do to stop businesses doing what they feel they need to do – but for Kirkcaldy, at a time when we have so many things to talk up it is really, really frustrating.”We are now at the stage where we need councillors, our MP and MSP and all organisations to work together to come up with a strategy for the economic development of Kirkcaldy.
“There seems to be one for everywhere else except this town. We need that sorted.”
He also highlighted the need to drive the message that the High Street will endure.
“Falkirk lost its M&S and appealed to the community to back the town centre and support its national and independent traders. We need to do the same.
“This town is not dead.
“It is alive and kicking. There are more people than ever trying to improve it, and they will succeed in the end. We have to believe it,”