Ambitious proposals to regenerate Kirkcaldy’s industrial heritage have been revealed with the unveiling of a new green masterplan to breathe new life into the area.
The document, which covers the Victoria Road corridor, features improved pedestrian and cycle routes, including a cycle path between Denfield Park and Victoria Hospital.
The masterplan was commissioned by Fife Council and produced by landscape architecture practice UrbanPioneers following a consultation with the public.
It is a recommendation of a charrette carried out in the area in 2014 and the proposals cover an area between Victoria Road in the south to Hayfield Road in the north. Improvements are already starting to take place with 161 affordable houses completed in Overton Road and residential and commercial plans earmarked for other large sites.
A spokeswoman for UrbanPioneers said improvements to pedestrian and cycle routes and establishing connections from the charrette area to the wider network forms part of the first phase of the masterplan, with opportunities to look at sport and leisure facilities as the scheme develops and funding is secured.
Councillor Neil Crooks, chairman of Kirkcaldy area committee, said it is very timely to highlight the new plan given that the area featured in a television programme on Monday night.
He said: “It is current to have this area covered by media interest given the tv programme the other night on BBC about Kirkcaldy, The Town That Floored The World. To see the masses of industrial buildings across the town related to linoleum production and the thousands of people who were employed in “for lifetime” jobs reminded me of the town I grew up in. There were lots of jobs opportunities and people felt secure. The charette area was subjected to significant consultation and the local schoolchildren in particular wanted some play/leisure on the site. I did make a serious bid for the indoor football facility to be located at Victoria Road, but unfortunately it went to the Michael Woods Centre in Glenrothes.
“The Denfield Park site where the YM juniors play has potential for a sports hub but its isolation makes it vulnerable to vandalism. The charrette area will concentrate on more housing being delivered and when that happens, security increases and opportunities arise.
“There is interest from developers in Victoria Road and Den Road for housing and the council have developed housing bringing the bottom of Overton Road to life including extending across Beatty Crescent towards Denfield. “Making the area available to cyclists and pedestrians is one way of connecting quietly from Hayfield to the harbour and reopening the tunnel under the railway would be needed to make that happen.
“The dereliction at the Dunnikier traffic lights area needs development and we have worked with Penman Homes to demolish and build housing on the former SMT garage site which lay empty for years. This was the industrial heart of Kirkcaldy and became a memorial of dereliction for years.”
He added: “Breathing new life into the charrette area has started and there is a long way to go.”