Kirkcaldy town centre: MP’s call to ‘think bigger’ to bring jobs to town

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Plans to invest almost £250,000 in a new makers space in the heart of Kirkcaldy have been welcomed - but the town has to think bigger and bring more industry and steady employment.

The call comes from Neale Hanvey MP who described the demolition of The Postings as a “bitter sweet moment” as bulldozers raze the once busy shopping centre.

The work all forms part of the transformation of the town centre as it looks ahead with more residential development, and looks to re-purposes then empty shops which scar its landscape.

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Earlier this month, Love Oor Lang Toun published its vision document which showed some of the imaginative ways in which empty retail its could be brought back into life.

Neale Hanvey MP on Kirkcaldy High StreetNeale Hanvey MP on Kirkcaldy High Street
Neale Hanvey MP on Kirkcaldy High Street

Its document aims to give developers and investors a fresh perspective on Kirkcaldy - and underline the projects that local people want to see, and will support.

And last week, the Corra Foundation, which was in the High Street for a three-month research project for its Everyone Every Day, initiative, presented its findings.

Councillors have already signed off a £240,000 investment in the project and plans are already underway to launch a new, free-to-use maker space.

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Mr Hanvey, the town’s Alba MP, welcomed the positive steps as more residential opportunities opened up to change the composition of the town centre.

Emily Wallace from the Corra Foundation was at the helm of the Kirkcaldy projectEmily Wallace from the Corra Foundation was at the helm of the Kirkcaldy project
Emily Wallace from the Corra Foundation was at the helm of the Kirkcaldy project

He said: “Demolition of the Postings is a bittersweet moment.

“Like many local folk, I remember the excitement of the brand new centre opening, and the promise of yet more shoppers coming to Kirkcaldy’s then crowded streets. Only a few short years later, the area fell victim to the destruction of its mining industry, brutally stripping jobs and cash flow, so the centre never fully realised its potential.

“Now that the retail area is being mooted for residential use, Kirkcaldy town centre has a chance of a new future.”Mr Hanvey said it was heartening to see the two community-led projects move to their next phase of action.

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He added: “For too long there has been a failure to listen to what the people want, often leading to a waste of scarce resources. We must carefully consider new methods of regeneration which have proved fruitful in other areas, and not lapse into the old Council knows best way of thinking.

“What both projects have in common is a wish to see more creative spaces and learning opportunities. Folk want to share their knowledge and are keen to help others. It’s this spirit of community and collaboration that has already seen success in small pockets of the town, such as the Merchant’s Quarter.

“However, Kirkcaldy has areas of severe deprivation, and, without a decent income, people can’t commit much to retail spending.

“While I commend Fife Council’s plans to invest £240,000 to help launch a new, free-to-use maker space, we must also continue to think bigger and bring more industry and steady employment to the constituency. No amount of funding thrown at such projects will deliver the change necessary. People must have decent wages and spare change of their own for real success.”He also urged local businesses battling rising energy bills to get in touch with his office to stay up to date with the work going on behind the scenes.

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“With businesses struggling day-in-day-out to meet the financial burden of runaway energy costs, and governments north and south of the border unwilling or unable to help, it is vital I do everything I can to help meet these challenges. Any business effected by these costs should contact my office to ensure I keep them updated on the actions I am taking.”