Fife town centres get £4.3m funding boost

Bonnygate, Cupar
Bonnygate, Cupar

Councillors have drawn up their spending plans after the Scottish Government gave them a £4.3m pot of money to focus on town centre projects.

Fife Council’s policy and co-ordination committee formally approved a raft of projects which will see the creation of everything from better pedestrian and cycle paths in Glenrothes to shipping containers on the waterfront in Kirkcaldy to generate new business opportunities.

The money formed part of a £50m fund announced by Derek Mackay, Finance Secretary of the Scottish Government, several months ago, and Fife got the single biggest allocation.

Kirkcaldy got most of the cash with £1.6m going to projects designed to tackle the alarming decline across the Lang Toun’s High Street.

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Projects include buying out dilapidated shops with a view to making them more attractive to investors, taking ownership of empty units to create more residential opportunities, and committing some £350,000 to repairing the crumbling Postings steps which were once a busy route from the bus station to the High Street.

The repair work – previously put on hold – comes after the centre was bought by investor, Tahir Ali, at a public auction, and rebranded the Kirkcaldy Centre – and aims to provide support for plans to transform the near empty building.

In Cupar, councillors committed £450,000 to activate the Inner Court/Bonnygate mixed use development, while Dunfermline got £300,000 for the Maygate Enterprise Hub.

Some £50,000 is to be spent in Glenrothes creating safe, active and attractive pedestrian route-ways opposite the Kino Cinema to boost the development of a night time economy of the town – and create better linked cycle routes-ways.

Glenrothes’ town centre masterplan was also given £500,000 to enable the progression of several town centre sites to deliver commercial development.

In Leven, councillors committed £350,000 to buying up and refurbishing “persistently vacant dilapidated town centre units and investment on the key connection route between the High Street and edge of centre retail park. – and £450,000 to deliver phase tow of the town’s regeneration plan.

Lochgelly got £300,000 to deliver its Charrette and activate the development of new Town House square to host open air events.

Councillor David Ross, co-leader, said: “This is good news. The projects will have a positive impact on our town centres.

“We could have spent the money ten times over in Fife. It also sounds a lot of money, but, in real terms, when working on town centre projects, it isn’t a great deal.

“I recognise there is disappointment from areas, but if we spread the money too thin then it would have less impact, and our clear priority is mid-Fife is the area that needs the most support.