The hope and hype behind the launch The Postings in Kirkcaldy
Kirkcaldy was poised to be the shopping Mecca of the east back in 1981.
The Lang Toun would be a magnet for shoppers and would attract investment and trade with ever-increasing force for many years.
This bold claim was made ahead of the opening of the brand new Posting Shopping Centre, which welcomed its first customers in July of that year.
Critics of the centre claimed that there were already too many shops on the expanding High Street and increased competition could force some businesses to the wall.
However, figures at the time from Kirkcaldy and District Chamber of Commerce showed that the town had more shopping space per head of population than Edinburgh, Glasgow, Dundee and Aberdeen – 9.4 per square feet compared to the then Scottish average of 6.13.
Taking the Fife Free Press for a sneak peek at the Postings, built at a cost of £4.2m, before it opened its doors to the public was John Devine, a partner of the centre’s letting agents Graham & Sibbald.
“Look, when outside money does not come into town, that is when it is time to start worrying,” he said.
“And where are all these empty units on the High Street that people are talking about?
“There are some problems tied up with units, but there is plenty demand for all of them – and the Co-op at the west end of the High Street has just been taken over by a ladies’ outfitters.”
The Postings would comprise 17 shop units which would exist alongside the centre’s main attraction, the Wm Low supermarket which took up over half the centre’s space.
Seven of the 17 units would be filled ahead of the Postings’ opening: “A percentage that any developer would be happy with,” said Mr Devine, adding that the remaining 10 would fill quickly enough.
“After all, these developers are not charities and expansion of Kirkcaldy High Street can only be of benefit for the shopper.”
Those units already filled would comprise a chemist, fruiterer, off-licence, sports dealer, electrical supplier and fashion shop.
The Fife Free Press also advised its readers to pay special attention to the “£50,000 lighting system which give startling illumination to the shopping mall”.
Chris Dobson of the Postings’ developers, North British Properties of Gosforth, confirmed there was plenty interest in the centre and Kirkcaldy in general and claimed that a similar development in Gosforth had forced other retailers to “spruce up” their own shops in response to the new competition.
He said his company had done a lot of research and had pinpointed Kirkcaldy as a potential shoppers’ paradise.
“Kirkcaldy is a very prosperous shopping area,” he said, “it will attract more shoppers to the area, helping High Street traders in general.”
However, Mr Dobson told the FFP that there was one minor snag ahead of the Postings’ opening – its rooftop car park.
North British and Fife Regional Council had failed to reach an agreement, which meant that its 300 parking spaces were lying unused.
It was hoped that a compromise could be reached before the scheduled opening date of July 7, particularly as 150 spaces at the Esplanade had recently been lost due to building work being undertaken in connection with the second phase of the construction of the Mercat Shopping Centre.