A Glenrothes councillor says he is relishing the “challenge” of spearheading efforts to overcome the hurdles currently stifling regeneration of the town centre.
Cllr Ross Vettraino, who as the new vice chairman of the town’s area committee, has been given a particular remit to focus on the possible redevelopment potential that the town has been denied for well over a decade.
...alternatives must also be explored, including generating a night-time economyCllr Ross Vettraino
And with his involvement in both the Glenrothes Steering Group and the Glenrothes Stakeholder Group, two bodies already working to unlock investment opportunities and the potential for redevelopment, he says he wants to build on the effort already put into moving the issue forward.
“There are two reasons for the decline of the town centre and High Streets in general,” Mr Vettraino told the Gazette this week.
“Firstly the retail outlets, in which the public want to spend money are no longer there as by and large, they are now located in the retail parks.
“The second is the huge and continually growing increase in internet shopping.“
But he says since Tesco pulled out of plans to build a new supermarket in North Street in December 2013, the chances of the successful regeneration of the town centre are “significantly diminished”.
“The Kingdom Centre owners have bent over backwards to attract national retailers without much success, so alternatives must also be explored, including generating a night-time economy, which has already been discussed, and giving Glenrothes a better presence within the Fife tourist trade,” said Mr Vettraino.
The councillor also highlighted the need for negotiations with the Co-op which still has 30 years outstanding on a lease for its former Albany Gate store.
“We have to do more to try and persuade the Co-op to relinquish its grip on that building if we are to redevelop that end of the town,” he added.
“Glenrothes can take advantage of Fife’s £300m annual tourist trade”
Fife’s £300 million annual tourist trade is something Glenrothes should be doing more to tap into, that’s the view of Glenrothes councillor Ross Vettraino.
“There is the potential for tapping into Fife’s significant tourist trade. When people think of tourism in Fife, they tend to think of St Andrews and the East Neuk, but Fife has so much else to offer,” said Mr Vettraino.
He added: “There are the specialised facilities locally and forthcoming Queensferry Crossing, which, in my view, will bring world heritage status to the three crossings over the Forth.
“Relative to all of Fife’s tourist attractions, Glenrothes is the geographic centre.
“That is surely something on which efforts to increase footfall in Glenrothes can be based.”