£4.3m pot of cash to boost Fife’s town centres

Fife Council has been handed £4.3m to invest in its town centres.

Friday, 1st March 2019, 12:49 pm
Updated Friday, 1st March 2019, 1:52 pm
The east end of Kirkcaldy High Street (Pic: George McLuskie)

The money comes from a £50m pot set up by the Scottish Government to help bring new life to High Streets.

Fife’s share is the single biggest single allocation.

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They money has to be spent on themes which fit the Scottish Government’s own Centre Action plan – set up in conjunction with COSLA – to rejuvenate town centres which have taken a battering as major chain stores close and people migrate to online shopping.

It could be spent on bringing empty buildings back into use or supporting housing, social or community enterprises to enable High Streets to get a better mix of uses.

Launching the fund, Derek Mackay, Economy Secretary, said: “Town centres are facing challenges across Scotland in adapting to a changing retail climate, and it is important that we help them to diversify and adjust to overcome these challenges.

“I want to make sure we can keep life in our high streets, and ensure they continue to be thriving places for communities to live, work and enjoy.

“This £50 million fund will enable local authorities to stimulate and support a wide range of investments which will encourage town centres to diversify and flourish, and create an increase in footfall through local improvements and partnerships.”

How the £4.3m ring-fenced pot is shared across Fife’s key towns has yet to be announced, but David Torrance, SNP MSP for Kirkcaldy, has urged Fife Council to spend it wisely.

He said: “The health of our town centres is vital to the economic and cultural life of our communities – and this new investment can make a real difference.

“I very much welcome this additional funding for town centre. It is a welcome a timely boost for my constituency as Kirkcaldy High Street has been facing very serious challenges in recent times.

“This funding will help to transform town centres by enabling investment in projects aimed at regeneration and encouraging the development of multi use facilities in the town centre area, which will aid both the daytime and nightime economy.

“Fife Council must now ensure the money is spent wisely so that our town centres reap the maximum benefit of this massive investment.”