Kirkcaldy town centre: 'action and ambition' call after MP's summit on future

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A call for action and ambition to help secure the future of Kirkcaldy’s town centre has been made - on the fifth anniversary of the announcement that M&S was pulling out of the High Street after eight decades.

It came after a meeting of traders, landlords and organisations such as Fife Council and Love Oor Lang Toun, and was hosted by Neale Hanvey MP.

The aim was to put on the table all concerns as well as ideas and practical solutions to bring new life to the town centre. It was held in the new private hire dining space recently created by Koku Shi restaurant following its move to new premises.

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Issued highighted included the empty M&S store - most recently used as an NHS vaccine centre - the poor maintenance of other empty and derelict buildings, the impact of anti-social behaviour in the area and the pressure of parking charges on visitors, businesses and staff.

Neale Hanvey hosting his town centre meeting (Pic: Submitted)Neale Hanvey hosting his town centre meeting (Pic: Submitted)
Neale Hanvey hosting his town centre meeting (Pic: Submitted)

Regeneration suggestions included the creative use of spaces, using vinyl coverings on vacant shop fronts for advertising and signage to promote community events, and the creative use of empty units to provide activities for young people, indoor bowling, and other club and business support activities.

Ideas to drive economic development included organising entertaining street events, street performers and gala days as well advertising the affordability of units and the available support Mr Hanvey MP said: ““Like High Streets up and down the land, Kirkcaldy has been badly affected by changes in spending habits and the impact of austerity and the cost-of-living crisis.

“While we are celebrating the vibrancy of Kirkcaldy’s past, I can’t help but ask can’t the same innovative community spirit that floored the world be used to meet the economic challenges of today?

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“Busy local traders don’t have time for a talking shop, and the traders meeting provided a forum for discussion and actions my office will help to progress. Fife Council officers, Love Oor Lang Toun representatives and local landlords can see the benefit of this kind of engagement as we can only pull through the tough economic times by working in partnership.

“Tackling the unkempt to derelict appearance of some shop fronts is a sure fire way to make the High Street a much more inviting destination for shopping, leisure and starting a business, and I am glad that this is already being taken forward by council staff.”