Comment: Time to re-set the compass on Kirkcaldy town centre

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The town centre remains the very heart of our Kirkcaldy.

It’s where retail, leisure, business and transport all meet.

We’re all guilty at looking along the street and reflecting on what we have lost..

Maybe it’s time to re-set our compass.

As 2016 draws to a close, it is time to look forward.

We can certainly learn from the past - and the past mistakes that have blighted our town centre - but for 2017, the focus has to be not just on the road ahead but a clear sense of direction too.

We need a town centre that is as vibrant and diverse as possible.

We need to get the message out that our town centre is open for business.

We need to resolve parking issues.

We need to re-ignite the night-time economy and bring some more joined-up thinking to it.

And we need to support the businesses that are opening their doors, bringing new services and goods to town.

We can do that by looking forward and driving a new agenda – one with the town centre’s interests at the top of every page.

The independent audit gives us the big picture we’re perhaps all guilty of not seeing.

With a turnover of some £304m, the town centre is significantly more important that the retail park.

That comes against backdrop of falling footfall, a decline in the number of professional services , and buildings which are no longer fit for purpose.

That there is still work to be done is simply not in question.

Tesco’s closure continues to impact, and the departure of BHS hasn’t helped, but the number of businesses moving in is up.

They’re smaller in scale so they aren’t a like for like replacement, but they underline a belief in, and a commitment to, the future of our town centre.

And that is one we all need to share and support in 2017.