Kirkcaldy: Call to tap into ‘huge potential’ of major development gap site

One of Kirkcaldy’s key developments sites may still be lying empty - but the work started some seven years ago IS paying off, councillors have been told.

Wednesday, 6th October 2021, 4:22 pm

The eight-acre site which runs along Nairn Street and Victoria Road was one of the focal points of the Kirkcaldy Charrette launched in 2014.

Once part of the town’s industrial heartland, the buildings have been razed and the land left empty.

But things have progressed, Kirkcaldy area committee heard this week.

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Kirkcaldy Charette Masterplan. Artist's impression of how it could look. (Pic: UrbanPioneers)

The Charrette featured a series of interactive design workshops and presentations where the public, local design professionals and project consultants work together on developing a detailed masterplan for the area which also embraced land at Denfield, Commercial Street and Smeaton Industrial Estate.

Sincere then new housing developments have been set in motion, and Denfield - an area without even a postcode until recently - has been brought into use for sport.

But councillors want to see more progress.

Alistair Cameron, Kirkcaldy Central (Labour) welcomed the update on the Charrette, commencing: “ The gaps in Victoria Road offer huge potential for the town If we can fill them.“We want to see something happen sooner rather than later. It is nice to see some commercial projects developing, but the Charrette has gone on for quite some time.”

Launch of Kirkcaldy Charrette at Old Kirk in Kirkcaldy - Councillor Neil Crooks addressing the room

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The committee was given an overview of the project which was launched with Scottish Government funding of more than £30,000.

It was followed with mini-Charrettes involving local schools, and a raft of ideas pitched to make full use of the park space.

They included allotments, a community orchard and wildflower planting to enhance the greenspace.

The launch of Kirkcaldy Charrette at Old Kirk in 2013 - (from left)s Derek Mackay, the then Minister for Local Government and Planning; Julian Farrar (Ironside Farrar Consultants), Councillors Lesley Laird and Neil Crooks

Concept designs for active travel routes to connect the park to the town's existing cycle network continue to be progressed - these would link the park to Dunnikier Road, Hayfield Road and Factory Road.

Since the Charrette’s launch, the former SVL garage on Victoria Road has been turned into a residential development, and Miller Homes has planning permission for 105 homes on land to the east of the hospital.

An application is also currently under consideration to build 39 flats on the site of the former Nairn Building at the bottom of the Priory Campus formerly used by Fife College.

That just leaves the Round House and historic mansion to be developed.

Both been badly vandalised on a number of occasions over the years, and left exposed to the elements since closing, sparking concern over their decline, despite efforts to keep the site secure.

Councillors were also told that the Nairn Street site, mainly in the ownership of Scottish Enterprise, is being marketed and will only be sold "with an obligation to undertake immediate development.”

Ian McCrorie, lead officer, said: “One of the original challenges was this was an usual exercise in that Charrettes are often carried out within more densely populated residential areas.

“This Charette was in an area predominantly brown field land and had seen significant dilapidation and dereliction over decades as manufacturing declined.

”We are now six to seven years down the line and only starting to make substantive breakthroughs in terms of the key objections.

“That key 15-20 year timeline is probably clear to focus on.”

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