Column: Let's light up Kirkcaldy's waterfront, and bring Volunteers Green back into use

It’s just a string of lights and only runs along the stretch opposite the Kings Theatre - but what a difference it makes to the town’s waterfront.

Friday, 5th November 2021, 9:26 pm

Extend it right along towards the Basin, and the Prom no longer disappears into the pitch black of a winter’s night

Instead, it comes alive once more.

It becomes a focal point on a unique landscape we are now - at last - starting to appreciate and make the most of.

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Lighting up the Esplanade

And, if plans to light up Ravenscraig Castle come to fruition, it will have a stunning piece de resistance.

Go to any city and you will see landmark buildings and streets illuminated. There’s no reason why we can’t do likewise in Kirkcaldy. Should have done it years ago.

From the Basin right along to the harbour there should be a light trail which showcases our waterfront when darkness falls.

I’m not talking about something akin to Blackpool Illuminations either - bulbs on a wee string are perfectly adequate.

Volunteers Green is the only green space in the town centre

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Lighting up Kirkcaldy's waterfront and bringing green space back into public use

Fast forward a year or two and the waterfront could have a hotel and two restaurants next to the Basin. Look beyond that, and the gap site at the old pool might be filled many years after the previous owners pledged it wouldn’t be left as a white elephant which is exactly what they allowed to happen.

And, fingers crossed, the ugly sisters - the twin multi-storey car parks - are levelled and the land redeveloped.

Changing and improving the landscape is another piece of the picture to complete the jigsaw.

Re-imagining Volunteers Green is another.

It’s the sole green space in the town centre, but has sat untouched for decades while, all around change has taken place.

Preserving the past is important, but the green is - or should be - a living, breathing space.

What is stopping us from making it our equivalent of St Andrews Square in Edinburgh which hosts events and exhibitions, has a coffee stall, but is also a place to chill and meet?

Give people reasons to use it, and they will. Right now, the green hides in plain sight.

A small sensory garden would help to make it fully inclusive, so too would removing the imposing shrubbery, gates and walls.

The layout and access need to say ‘welcome’ rather than leave folk wondering if it’s okay to step inside.

Because, people make places - and places need people, otherwise they sit there for no discernible reason. I think I’ve set foot in the green three times in the last 30 years - I suspect that’s the case for many folk.

We can do all of that and still retain its essence as a place of calm, and opening it up gives us an opportunity to brings its history to a new generation. How many folk even know there’s a plaque in the middle, far less what it says?

It seems illogical to develop all around it, and leave it untouched - we either make changes now, or they won’t happen for another generation or more.

At last we have some joined-up thinking replacing the piecemeal approach of previous generations of politicians.

Light up the Prom, light up the green ... and make a lasting difference!

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