West end of High Street set for £1m facelift

Contractors are set to move into the west end early in the new year.
Contractors are set to move into the west end early in the new year.

A £1m project to gave a major facelift to the west end of Kirkcaldy’s High Street will begin in the new year.

The overhaul is the third and final phase of a programme which started almost 10 years ago in 2007.

Fife Council has appointed contractor, Land Engineering, to compete the work.

They will move on to the site and begin setting up from Monday, January 4 in Glassworks Street B car park, which will be closed during the duration of the project. Work will then begin on transforming the west end of the High Street from Monday, January 11.

Approximately £1 million will be spent on improvements to parking areas, the road surface, street lighting, and street furniture.

Cllr Pat Callaghan, executive spokesperson for environment and transportation said: “We’ve been able to give the businesses a clear run up to Christmas, due to the lead in times for materials. Now that everything is in place, we plan to complete these works in summer 2016.

“We hope these improvements, along with the reduced parking charges, will encourage more people to visit Kirkcaldy High Street.”

The High Street improvement programme has been delivered in three phases. In 2007 work started in the east end and continued along the pedestrianised area, so far costing £4.4 million.

Retailers gave a mixed response to the news. Jane Fraser, manager of Canterbury Bells said she expected some inconvenience, but “as long as people have access to our shop we should be fine”, however Willie Hodge, owner of Rugs and Runners Carpet Company, said he was “extremely worried”.

“This will kill our trade,” he said. “We’re just a young shop and we’re just starting to build up a clientele.

“We rely a lot on passing trade and it’s going to be bedlam once this work starts.

“I am very concerned that we could end up going bust.”

Cllr Neil Crooks, chairman of Kirkcaldy area committee, said that dialogue with retailers was key during the work.

“It was a common complaint during phases one and two that people running businesses didn’t know if things such as access to their premises was going to be restricted,” he said.

“We need a high level of communication and I’ll be hugely disappointed if that doesn’t happen.”

We’ll see a huge improvement

Cllr Stuart McPhail, whose Kirkcaldy Central ward covers the High Street, said the improvements were coming after a “constructive consultation” with business owners.

“They’ve been urging us to go ahead as they felt like the poor relations after the rest of the High Street had been worked on.

“Obviously they have concerns, but once the work is completed it will be a huge improvement.”