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“Huge changes” for Kirkcaldy ahead of waterfront transformation

Neil Crooks on the Esplanade where the road system will change to open up the waterfront.
Neil Crooks on the Esplanade where the road system will change to open up the waterfront.

A major transformation of Kirkcaldy’s waterfront could be completed by the end of next year, it has been claimed.

Councillor Neil Crooks, the convener of the Kirkcaldy area committee, has said that one of the town’s busiest roads will be reduced to a single lane in a bid to create more leisure space and car parking for the town centre.

Designed to tie in with a host of exciting projects along the waterfront, Mr Crooks believes the project is the key to unlocking the town’s economic potential.

Confirming that contracts for the huge scheme would be advertised within months, he said: “I have always said that we needed to replace some of the car parking that was lost when we built the swimming pool on the busiest car park in the town,” he said.

“But we don’t want to waste this space either.

“We were originally going to go out to tender in October but we have pushed this back to January as we keep getting ideas that could be factored in.”

The prospect of removing the current dual carriageway was first raised in 2008.

Councillors have long been determined to transform the town’s waterfront to create better ties between it and the town centre.

With the Esplanade seen as the main obstacle to this, traffic surveys have been conducted by the council’s transportation department with the results concluding that a single carriageway in each direction would be able to sustain the volume of traffic.

Plans to remodel the road coincide with a number of exciting projects in the town centre, following on from the opening of a revamped promenade and new leisure centre in recent years.

A £10 million cinema — a project that could create up to 250 jobs — is earmarked for the site of the former swimming pool and is currently working its way through the planning process.

This is expected to attract a host of restaurant chains to the town centre, creating further job opportunities locally.

Meanwhile, the hugely ambitious Kings Theatre project to revive the former ABC cinema at the east end of the High Street is still progressing, with those behind it claiming that the finished venue could attract top music acts and theatre shows.

“If the old swimming pool comes down and a cinema opens up then that will create a new night time economy,” added Mr Crooks.

“Plus, if the new Kings Theatre then becomes a reality then this space at the waterfront becomes really critical.

“This waterfront could transform Kirkcaldy.

“The next five years could see some huge changes.”

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