Lighting up Kirkcaldy's waterfront and bringing green space back into public use

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The development of Kirkcaldy’s waterfront is set to kick-start its next phase.

And councillors are keen to get feedback from residents and local groups over what should come next.

Lockdown saw huge numbers use the Prom on their daily walks, and it continues to be a hugely popular meeting point as people spend more time outdoors.

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The narrowlng of the dual carriageway towards the harbour was phase one which also included building new raised viewing platforms to allow everyone to enjoy the views across the Forth, and even planting palm trees.

The new raised viewing platforms on Kirkcaldy's waterfront are almost completeThe new raised viewing platforms on Kirkcaldy's waterfront are almost complete
The new raised viewing platforms on Kirkcaldy's waterfront are almost complete

Last week, tests began on new lighting which has been strung along the top of the lamp posts to change the landscape during the winter nights.

Now councillors are set to jump to phase three of the long-term project to make more use of the Promenade and improve its links to the parallel town centre.

Phase II has been put on hold pending more talks on the gap site left by the demolition of the old swimming pool, and discussions on how to tackle the ugly, unloved and under-used adjacent multi-storey car parks.

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There is a belief that the site could be dangled as a whole to tempt potential developers.

Parts of Kirkcaldy's waterfront are now lit upParts of Kirkcaldy's waterfront are now lit up
Parts of Kirkcaldy's waterfront are now lit up

Phase III will focus further along and change the road layout next to Volunteers Green - and the issue of how to bring that space back into use will form a key part of planned consultations.

For Councillor Neil Crooks, convenor of Kirkcaldy area committee, the project in its entirety is delivering the improvements many have championed for some time.

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And the ideas have stemmed from asking the public what it wants.

Volunteers GreenVolunteers Green
Volunteers Green

He said: “The raised platforms came when we were carrying out consultations about replacing the old sea wall.

“We were raising the height of it and people said back then that anyone in a wheelchair wouldn’t be able to see over it and enjoy the views across the Forth.

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“That was in the back of my mind when we started the work - how do we create something that gives people the benefit of the views?

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Palm trees have been added to the landscape on Kirkcaldy's waterfrontPalm trees have been added to the landscape on Kirkcaldy's waterfront
Palm trees have been added to the landscape on Kirkcaldy's waterfront

“We do these consultations and people come up with really good suggestions. It is frustrating that it takes so long to deliver them - it feels like forever at times - but we don’t forget about them.”

Work on the platforms is almost complete, and part of the waterfront is now illuminated at night - with more to come.

The ambition is to light to up Ravenscraig Castel as a landmark further up The Path.

“We really hope that can come off,” said Cllr Crooks. “From the waterfront along to the castle is a fantastic view. If it was lit up in winter it would look amazing.

“It would change the landscape.”

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He added: “We want to change the whole feel of the waterfront and make it a place that stand out, and one people use on a daily basis.”

Bringing it back into daily use is also a key thought behind taking a fresh look at Volunteer Green.

It’s a historic part of town and the only green space in the town centre - and views on how it could be used differ.

Many enjoy the fact it is quiet, others see it as having the potential to be Kirkcaldy’s version to Slessor Gardens in Dundee or St Andrews Square in Edinburgh - places people use on a daily basis.

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Cllr Crooks stressed: “We are not deciding its role - that will come from the consultation.

“It is an important place for local people, but the sense I get is that many fell it sits behind closed gates and doesn’t feel open to the public.

“What uses it could have and what format it takes is very much open to discussion

“It is a fantastic asset to the town but it isn’t visible enough.”

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Papers are also due to go before th4 area committee on plans to bring in new ways of charging for parking, and creating a new plaza for people and businesses to enjoy at the end of the pedestrianised zone by filtering traffic down Tolbooth Street.

Councillors and officer are also taking a fresh look at the Basin area to see how it can be better used for parking, and to develop it beyond its unofficial use as a lorry park.

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