New company reveals bid to transform Kirkcaldy town centre

There’s a new player in town with a plan to help re-invigorate Kirkcaldy town centre.

Thursday, 12th December 2019, 10:11 am
National Pride
National Pride

National Pride has been forging key relationships with local organisations over the past few months, and is looking to make an impact in 2020.

The Bonnyrigg-based community interest company – which re-invests in communities rather than being driven to maximise profits for shareholders – was formed last year.

And it’s mission is simple – to make a difference.

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National Pride - Irene Bisset, director

National Pride brings private investors to the table to work with the local authority to help kick-start a number of major projects across the town centre .

And it plans to share those ambitions with local people early in the new year.

Formed in 2018, National Pride first came to town to help generate additional funding to complete the building of Kirkcaldy’s new mosque, meeting with Maz Salim, a trustee, and also John King from David Adamson surveyors.

It went on to meet with individuals and organisations, and, impressed with the commitment to bring positive change to town, was inspired to get involved.

Over the past few months, its directors, Irene Bisset and Andy Whitlock, have met with councillors and officers, as well as key groups such as Fife Cultural Trust, Kirkcaldy4All, DBP Architects, Adam Smith Global Foundation and Kirkcaldy’s Ambitions – to name but a few.

Those informal links could now help pull together some ambitious projects which could be key to the transformation of the town centre.

National Pride’s arrival on the scene comes as Kirkcaldy4All, begins its final three months in operation.

It isn’t a replacement for the BID company - there is a proposal to create a Digital Innovation District (DID) covering the whole town - but it could brings a new face, and new ideas to the table during that transition phase.

Key figures within the town have long recognised that private investment is crucial to transforming our town centre as retail changes leave it scarred by large empty units.

Those influential voices want to see a marrying of that support with the local authority’s plans for the town.

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Irene Bisset, who chairs National Pride, believes the pace of delivery is of the upmost importance.

She said: “Our extended stay in Kirkcaldy has given us the opportunity to meet many amazing people who all have a goal to bring the good times back to the town.

“Inspired by those who we have met, we are suggesting significant development of Kirkcaldy High Street, the Esplanade and surrounding area.

“Potential investors and developers with an interest in delivery are ready.”

The organisation’s key message is this has to be a joined-up approach in order to deliver tangible benefits.

Added Irene: “Only working together can we make a difference, and make this significant change in Kirkcaldy’s future become a reality.”

Having introduced itself, National Pride now aims to set up meetings locally during the first quarter of 2020.

“We want to tell people we are here, talk about oure plans and what we can do for the towen,” said Irene.

“But we also want to hear their feedback, take their questions and find out what they want.

“We’ve met a lot of people already and, without exception, they have bene happy to engage with us.

“I really want to open that up to everybody – if we can tap in to that positive enregy here, then we can win.

“If everyone is pulling together , then the community will absolutely benefit.”

Ken Gourlay, head of the council’s assets, transportation and environment, said: “We have built engagement with a range of local stakeholders in Kirkcaldy to encourage and develop private sector investment in the town, including National Pride, which has been working with a number of local businesses and organisations.

We have also held consultations with residents and businesses as part of the council’s Placemaking approach, which will help to guide positive action in Kirkcaldy.

“Over recent years, the council has focused investment in the town centre, including work now underway at the Waterfront and developing projects with Kirkcaldy4All and the Adam Smith Global Foundation.

“We will engage with all organisations who feel they could work with us.”