M&S Kirkcaldy closure: So much to do to turn around our town centre

Fife Free Press, M&S closure cover, October 2018
Fife Free Press, M&S closure cover, October 2018

This is a pivotal moment for our town centre.

M&S’ announcement it is closing its High Street store left staff shocked, politicians angry, and business leaders disheartened.

Make no mistake – this is more profound than the loss of Tesco in 2015.

Once again Kirkcaldy is being kicked in the teeth as a direct result of a decision taken at national level.

That this closure will co-incide with the opening of a new M&S foodhall in Glenrothes adds a new layer of frustration to the many groups and individuals working harder than ever to turn our town centre around.

There is so much to do it can feel overwhelming – but we must persevere.

Kirkcaldy town centre cannot be allowed to sink any further.

We know its shortcomings.

We know the impact of the mistakes of the past, and the inertia which continues to strangle many great initiatives even before they have left the drawing board.

We know the very real problems of parking, but it seems beyond the grasp of councillors and officers to deliver what we need. That has to change.

We fully endorse the commitment to town centres from the Scottish Government – but we need that backed up with clear, decisive action. Words alone won’t breathe new life into empty buildings or change the mood music.

There is so much to do – and we need to ensure Kirkcaldy’s voice is heard, and its needs placed high on every page of every agenda.

But we also all have a role to play.

We know people have huge pride in their town – they genuinely want it to succeed.

Losing M&S is a massive blow. We cannot allow it to become a fatal one.

Now, more than ever, we have to all support our town centre traders.

This truly is a pivotal moment.