Citizens’ Lab joins debate over Kirkcaldy town centre

Kirkcaldy4All - launches new Kirkcaldy Now initiative, May 2019
Kirkcaldy4All - launches new Kirkcaldy Now initiative, May 2019

A new Citizens’ Lab for Kirkcaldy has been launched online to get more people involved in creating a new future for our town centre.

It has been unveiled by Kirkcaldy4All as part of the BID company’s radical plan to tackle the decline of our High Street.

And it comes with a pledge that this isn’t another talking shop.

The aim is to showcase its potential for investment and bring new ventures, and jobs, which can lay the foundations for a brighter future.

The BID company is also planning Kirkcaldy’s Capital Showcase – an event in June to promote the town’s strong independent retail sector.

The projects come on the back of a tough start to 2019 which saw M&S quit the High Street and Debenhams announce plans to close early in 2020, on top of the loss of some established local businesses.

The descent which began with the loss of Tesco in 2015 has accelerated to the extent some now fear the High Street is worryingly close to a tipping point.

The BID – which represents some 400 town cnetre businesses – has spent a number of months working behind the scenes to complete a review of the town centre’s businesses and sought out the expert advice of key players in the UK’s retail, property, architecture and design and land management to look at the town’s future.

With the Kirkcaldy Placemaking project also under way, and Fife Council workijng on its plan for mid-Fife – which includes Glenrothes and Leven – the aim is ensure Kirkcaldy’s case for support and investment is a priority.

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Bill Harvey, BID manager, explained: “The focus of many of those plans is on things we can’t influence – from big environmental concerns, to health and social care.

“Fife Council has a huge task to manage the big picture when it comes to our area, and we applaud it for that.

“We want to work with the council with a focus on our town – to help influence business to drive economic investment and job creation that will bring long term benefits to Kirkcaldy and the wider area.”

The BID’s plan is to showcase the town’s potential to investors – to shout louder than ever the reasons why businesses need to come to Kirkcaldy.

Mr Harvey added: “We want to work with all partners – Fife Council, our local and regional government organisations, schools, college, health service and more.

“Most importantly, we want to work with the people of the town. They make this town tick and are Kirkcaldy’s future.”

The Citizens’ Lab is their route into the debate.

It is a platform for people to have their say, and share their ideas to bring new energy and vitality to our town centre.

Mr Harvey added: “Our remit is to support the town’s business interests, to drive economic development.

“But each and every business is made up of individuals, be they owners, employees or customers.

“We want to hear from our residents, families, our businesses, school kids, teachers, doctors, nurses, carers, students, apprentices, our visitors … all the brilliant people who make up Kirkcaldy and who are passionate about our town’s future.”

“The BID is a small organisation with a big ambition.

“We will take the ideas that are shared and look at what is deliverable and when.

“Some might be pie in the sky. Some might be doable tomorrow. Some might be dreams. Some might be real opportunities that could attract investment.

“As a group representing the town, we will take a selection with the aim of testing small parts of them to see how feasible they are. We might be starting small but – rest assured – we are aiming high.”

Kirkcaldy4All is also working with various partners to stage event in June that will exhibit some of those ideas.

Billed as Kirkcaldy’s Capital Showcase, it will run in the week of Adam Smith’s birthday – and will also act as a promotion of the town’s burgeoning independent retail sector.

Added Mr Harvey: “We’ll be sharing more on this over the coming weeks. It promises to help move this exciting initiative forward to win more support for our framework for growth.”

Harry Cormie, who chairs Kirkcaldy4All, added: “We’re delighted with the level of support and interest our proposed framework for growth has attracted. It is heartening to see so many folk who are keen to back Kirkcaldy and believe in our town’s future economic prosperity.”

>> Get involved: Visit HERE www.KirkcaldyNow.Blog for a full explanation of the Citizens’ Lab project and share your ideas on Kirkcaldy town centre’s future.