Plans to demolish Kirkcaldy’s number one eyesore could be brought forward by the end of the year.
A study looking at the costs involved in knocking down the unsightly Esplanade car park will be drawn up as soon as possible after councillors agreed “the time for talking is over”.
The future of the Thistle car park will also be looked at, along with town centre parking charges.
Officers are now drawing up a feasibility study looking at the implications of the seven-point action plan agreed by councillors on Tuesday.
The move is aimed at attracting more people to the town centre, which is still suffering from the loss of major retailers over the last few years.
Kirkcaldy area committee convener Neil Crooks said the public is sick of words and wanted action.
“This is my 10th year in this hot seat and issues around the town centre and parking have dominated both in the media and discussions with councillors and the public,” he said.
“We need to be moving ahead with delivery rather than conducting more conversations.”
The Labour councillor added: “We’re trying to introduce positive and feasible changes.”
Seven points for action
Mr Crooks and his Labour colleague Alistair Cameron had proposed seven changes.
Their motion followed an extensive consultation with the public.
As a result, officers are now looking at:
- Simplifying the complex parking system and introducing a single, £2-a-day charge for all town centre car parks.
- Continuing with half-price season tickets.
- Demolishing the two council-owned car parks on the Esplanade.
- Removing parking charges at the two Coal Wynd car parks.
- Ensuring on-street parking charges and restrictions are universal across the town centre.
- Introducing a permanent barrier to prevent unauthorised vehicle access to the pedestrianised High Street.
- Ensuring authorised drivers exit the pedestrianised zone at Tolbooth Street rather than Kirk Wynd.
Mr Crooks said: “We’re laying our cards on the table and seeking advice from officers.”
And Mr Cameron added: “There is no doubt the public is looking now for us to do, as opposed to talk.
“We are looking for reports to come back sooner rather than later.”
Officers will look at whether changing the price of parking will impact on the council’s income as part of the review.
Committee members unanimously approved the approach, except for Conservative councillor Kathleen Leslie.
She dismissed the motion as “a bunch of vague commitments” and accused Labour of failing the town centre.
Kirkcaldy High Street has lost a number of large chain stores, including Marks and Spencer, Debenhams, BHS and Dorothy Perkins.
In addition, the Postings closed this year after the last two retailers moved out.
The new parking plan is just one of several proposals aimed at increasing footfall.
Bringing empty shop buildings back into use as housing or office hot desking have been suggested.
And an indoor street food market and European-style plaza are among other ideas mooted.
Community organisation Love Oor Lang Toun asked the public for their views earlier this year and is about to analyse the results.
Development manager Danny Cepok said previously: “We hope they’ll come up with a few fun ideas and we’ll work on their thoughts.”