Comment: Kirkcaldy’s retail park needs to develop to compete

What the new �10 million investment at Fife Central Retail Park will look like
What the new �10 million investment at Fife Central Retail Park will look like

Our town is in no position to turn down 200 jobs and a £10m investment.

Both are to be welcomed as Fife Retail Park looks to raise its game and remain a ‘must visit’ out of town destination for shoppers – not just from Fife but from Dundee and across the Forth Bridge.

That audience has plenty of choice and it is very mobile, so the retail park has to be improved at every opportunity to stay up with, let alone, ahead of, the rest.

Part of the investment needs to improve the access to, and parking at, the retail park. This is where it lets itself down – badly.

The road which winds round the front of the shops is woefully inadequate, and has been from day one.

Access to the main entrance needs to be re-thought, particularly if the aim is to attract more customers and traffic, and maximise the return from the £10m investment.

The retail park certainly has more vibrancy than others in Fife, and the addition of more big names should encourage more people along the A92 to Kirkcaldy.

Of course, the stores earmarked to move in would, at one stage, have been found within our town centre.

Those days have gone forever.

Big retailers want large units and free car parking.

They can only get them at an out of town location.

The town centre cannot offer either – the buildings no longer fit, and there is no great political will to stray too far from one-size-fits-all parking charges which, many would argue, are no longer fit for purpose.

The fine balancing act between developing a retail park and protecting the town centre must continue – both are key to the town’s economy.

The more choice we can offer, the more reasons people have for coming to our town.

Once here, we then have to get them into the town centre, so let the joined-up thinking begin ...