Sports centre plan for derelict Kirkcaldy site

Fife Council aims to create a facility similar in style to Inverclyde National Sports Centre
Fife Council aims to create a facility similar in style to Inverclyde National Sports Centre

Ambitious plans are afoot to bring new synthetic football pitches to Kirkcaldy - and dramatically transform derelict ground at Victoria Road.

Cllr Neil Crooks, chair of Kirkcaldy Area Committee, is building a case to capture part of Fife Council’s £ 2.25 million budget for pitches, after a sports strategy report identified a lack of provision in Kirkcaldy.

The football clubs locally have highlighted for years the shortage of available pitches in Kirkcaldy area

Cllr Neil Crooks

And proposals to build an indoor sports facility - like the £2million indoor sports centre in Largs (pictured) - are actively being explored.

Cllr Crooks held meetings with local football clubs, council officers involved in sports activity, the local sports council and representatives of Raith Rovers FC over two years to help shape the report.

“A shortage of synthetic turf pitches was highlighted in that report and whilst we have re-laid a new pitch at Kirkcaldy High School and agreed funding for one in Burntisland, we are well behind most other areas of Fife,” he said.

“ I want to bid for investment at Balwearie High School where there is a very tired old sand based all weather pitch and a tired running track, the only one in Kirkcaldy area.

“The school could accommodate a new floodlit synthetic pitch in the middle of the running track area and with lights and some investment in the track we could create a super community facility to benefit local youngsters, the school and sports clubs who currently use the Beveridge Park including the rugby club.”

Replacing the sand based pitch with STP would further enhance opportunities for sports and physical activity in and around Balwearie.

Cllr Crooks said: “ The football clubs locally have highlighted for years the shortage of available pitches in Kirkcaldy area and in discussions about the Viewforth complex, we have secured three, maybe four grass pitches plus a full sized STP with floodlights and changing facilities built in to the new Viewforth complex.

“We are also looking at creating a community gym at Viewforth and local people, pupils, staff and local development officers have visited a similar initiative at Lochgelly High School which is hugely successful in that community particularly with young people.”

An oportunity existed to create a significant development at the Victoria Road charrette site, which Cllr Crooks described as a “massive gap in the heart of town.”

Previous consultations suggested sport was high on the agenda, alongwith housing and business use.

“The Council has worked successfully with Sportscotland over a number of years and discussions are at an early stage about locating an indoor football/sports centre there.” said Cllr Crooks.

“This would be a partnership development but places like Largs have delivered a successful similar project and it would be a perfect outcome for the charrette area.”

He added: “Various people and organisations we have engaged with over recent years understand solutions don’t grow on trees but I hope they are encouraged by these initiatives and support our direction of travel”