Why town living could revive our High Street

Kirkcaldy High Street
Kirkcaldy High Street

A RETURN to living as well as working in the High Street, could hold the key to the revival of Kirkcaldy’s town centre in 2013.

A plan to bring back housing to the centre of Kirkcaldy is being considered by Neil Crooks, Chairman of Fife Council’s Kirkcaldy Area Committee.

Gordon Brown MP believes a new plan to target more private rented and owner occupied housing could bring people back into the heart of the town.

Scottish Government funding for such a pilot project is due to come on stream this month.

And there is also the possibility of Heritage Lottery funding to breathe new life into empty units which sit above our shops.

Mr Brown says both could help in the bid to revitalise the town.

He has asked Councillor Neil Crooks, chairman of Kirkcaldy area committee, and Kirkcaldy4All to look into it, while Fife Historic Buildings Trust has also expressed interest in linking with a housing association to develop flats in the town centre.

Any plans emerging from discussions would be put to the public for their views before any work is started.

Mr Brown said: ‘‘The plan, which would target more private rented and owner occupied housing in the centre of the town, could bring hundreds of residents back into Kirkcaldy centre. We are examining just what we can do to bring new life into the area.”

Mr Brown said he was impressed by plans to transform the east end into a Merchants’ Quarter while there was scope to develop housing in the west end, with retail focussed on the pedestrianised centre.

‘‘This would stimulate High Street service sector businesses as well as bring new income into the current retail developments,’’ he added.

‘‘We need to maximise the benefit from new investment and bring new life to the town centre - mixing residential and retail development in the spirit of the objectives of Kirkcaldy4All and Kirkcaldy’s Ambitions.

“We have plans for a Merchants Quarter and some house building is planned alongside a new hotel on the old Jackie O site.

‘‘There are also plans being discussed in other areas of the centre.

“This is Kirkcaldy looking at a 21st century solution and I praise all members of Kirkcaldy Ambitions - Kirkcaldy4All, Fife Council and Adam Smith Global Foundation - and all those involved in considering bold initiatives for our future.”