“A very positive start to something that will go on for years to come.”
That’s the way Kirkcaldy’s first summit which brought together traders, organisations, councillors and business leaders to brainstorm the best way to regenerate the fortunes of the town centre was described this week.
Councillor Neil Crooks, chairman of the Kirkcaldy area committee, gave the glowing testimony after a follow up report on ‘Kirkcaldy’s Ambitions’ the name given to the initiative.
Danny Cepok, area services manager, with Fife Council, said the event, held at the end of June had been a great success with 120 people turning up to give their views and share their ideas.
He explained the feedback had been divided into four main areas: parking, transport and signage; shopping experience and attracting new businesses; physical improvements and environment and effective partnership working, with the ideas being put together to form an action plan to take the project forward.
Among the action points are: a review of car parking; improved visitor signs; property maintenance; street surfacing improvements; development of a cafe culture; setting up a working group and encouraging low cost business start-up locations.
“Everyone is aware of the difficult circumstances we are working in and the changes which have taken place over the last few decades with out of town retail parks, so it is hardly surprising that we have seen more vacant shop units appearing in our town centre,” said Mr Cepok.
“It is not a situation unique to Kirkcaldy it is happening in towns the length and breadth of the UK.
‘‘ We want to try to see what we can do over the next few years to address those challenges.”
Councillor Judy Hamilton stressed that it was important to get the large population of local residents on board.
“Most people accept that because they live in the town centre there are restrictions on services, but there are things that they can change,” she said.
Councillor David Ross said there was “a real willingness to take things forward and be constructive and positive.”
Councillor Kenny Selbie highlighted the need for strong partnership working.
“There has to be a vision that everyone is working towards,” he added.
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