£1m funding to start next phase of Kirkcaldy Esplanade transformation
Fife Council is set to commit a further £1m to start the next phase of transforming Kirkcaldy’s waterfront.
It will continue the work to cut the Esplanade from dual carriageway to single road, taking the project from the harbour to Nicol Street.
The funding is due to be formally approved at Thursday’s meeting of Fife Council’s policy and co-ordination committee.
The work has been a decade in the planning and the subject of several consultations.
It has already changed the road lay-out towards the harbour, creating new parking spaces to encourage people to visit the parallel High Street, and a plaza at the Kings Theatre.
The changes aim to re-connect connect Kirkcaldy’s waterfront with its town centre after generations of the two operating separately.
Work has also started on the new raised viewing areas on the Esplanade to capitalise on its views across the Forth.
The £1.6m project was halted at the start of the coronavirus outbreak in March 2020, with contractors able to return in July.
Councillor Neil Crooks, convener of Kirkcaldy area committee, has hailed the transformation as “ambitious yet achievable” - and was delighted it was back on track after the pandemic.
He said: “The first phase of the project has progressed agonisingly slowly due to COVID restrictions affecting construction.
“The announcement that the council is about to approve £1m for continuing the next phase is music to my ears.”
Mr Crooks said the project aimed to “improve pedestrian connectivity across the roadway remove barriers, and create usable space” and added: “This money will see that plan implemented into second and maybe even third phases.
“It takes years to develop plans like this and more years to secure funds for Kirkcaldy when there are demands all over Fife.
“ Hopefully there are more good news stories to come for our town after years of patiently organising and agitating in the background.”
It’s hoped this first phase of regeneration will in turn trigger a wider creative redevelopment of the esplanade.
Lockdown saw it become hugely popular with many people who used it as part of their daily walk.
A green gym has also been added with views across the Forth.