Work starts on new flats on former Co-Op gap site in Kirkcaldy town centre

Work is underway to finally transform one of Kirkcaldy town centre’s gap sites.

Thursday, 16th September 2021, 5:15 pm

The boarded-up, empty land where the Co-Op once stood on the High Street is being turned into a new residential development.

Once complete, it will have 39 flats with new commercial units.

Work to clear the site has already started and, this week, workmen began demolishing the former Reid Furniture store next to make way for the development.

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Work underway to turn former Co-Op gap site on Kirkcaldy High Street into a new development of 39 flats and commercial units

Dundee based Newport Property Development is building the flats after securing planning permission from Fife Council.

The site has sat empty for the past 15 years after previous bids to build flats faltered.

The Co-op was demolished in 2006 after plans to build 26 flats and add retail space were approved 12 months earlier.

The property was then sold, and the project halted in 2008 halted during the recession. Permission was extended until 2010, but work never started.

It was left overgrown and ignored for many years until work finally got underway.

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Nostalgia 1975: £1m blaze that destroyed Co-op's High Street store

Newport describes its development as “high quality, sustainable homes within a town centre site”

It also wants to create a development which blends in with the historic buildings around it, stating: “The building aims to create a positive landmark at the prominent junction of the High Street and Oswald’s Wynd, while maintaining the commercial frontage to the High Street.”

The gap site was the result of a devastating blaze which destroyed the Co-Op which had been part of the town centre since 1907.

It was the scene of a massive fire in April 1975 which razed the original four-storey building.

Back then, the Co-Op had 30,000 members and a turnover of £5m, underlining the key role in played in many people’s lives.

It had been part of the town since opening circa 1907, the original building being developed over four floors which included a self service grocery department and a bakery, and sold everything from clothes – there were both men’s and women’s departments – to household fittings, stationery, haberdashery, electrical goods and jewellery.

Incredibly, the fire broke out at lunchtime – when it was closed and there was no-one in the building!

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