A draft plan designed to boost the Mid-Fife economy over the next decade has been given a lukewarm reception on its first airing by local councillors.
The Mid-Fife ecomonic action plan sets out around 24 actions which council officials believe need to be taken to improve economic activity in Kirkcaldy, Cowdenbeath, Glenrothes and Levenmouth, where there are challenges in relation to employment, education and the health of town centres.
Among the measures mooted has been the creation of a £100 million carbon zero business and innovation park in Kirkcaldy, although investment of around £180 million is thought to be needed to see through all the projects suggested.
While the look to the future has been welcomed, members of Kirkcaldy area committee have stressed work needs to be done before such a plan can be adopted.
Council co-leader David Ross said he has concerns about how the measures outlined might be funded and said the local authority’s current committee structure is not “capable of giving this the drive that’s needed”.
“My concern at the moment is that it still lacks a bit of focus,” he said.
“It’s neither one thing or another – it’s not high level enough that it’s giving direction to what we have been doing, yet it doesn’t actually get down to sufficient level in terms of actions.
“There’s still this idea that all the towns are competing against each other, but when you look at the spending power in Mid-Fife it’s comparable with small cities.
“It also has to have a bit more of a link into reality about what resources are there and given the current likelihood of resources what we can actually do.”
Conservative councillor Richard Watt agreed, describing it as “neither fish nor fowl” in its current state and “lacking substance”.
SNP councillor Lesley Backhouse suggested the plan was too “negative” in its view of Mid-Fife and did not highlight the good things being done.
However, Peter Corbett, Fife Council economy lead officer, said: “More of the same will not take us beyond where we are at the moment.
“We’re doing a lot of good work but it’s small scale and it’s not going to make the change we need to get us to and beyond the Scottish average in a number of areas.”
Labour councillor Ian Cameron labelled the plan as a “statement of ambition” and called for funding sources to be identified alongside the vision for the area, to which Mr Corbett replied: “Absolutely, because this is the first stage before developing these ideas.
“If we knock on the door of the Scottish Government with a vague sense of what we want then we’re not going to get very far.”
The Levenmouth, Glenrothes and Cowdenbeath area committees will also consider the draft plan in the coming weeks and give their feedback.