Breathing life back into Fife’s deserted town centres will be a priority in the region’s coronavirus recovery plan.
Shuttered shopfronts and empty High Streets are a stark side effect of the coronavirus pandemic, as the nation is told to stay at home to prevent spread of the disease.
Many of the kingdom’s town centres were struggling long before the virus struck.
It is likely some shutters will remain drawn when restrictions on movement are lifted, with Covid-19 too strong a punch to bounce back from.
While the massive effort continues to support the region’s most vulnerable through the virus crisis, civic leaders are already considering the road to recovery in an altered economic landscape.
Fife Council co-leader David Ross said coronavirus would be a game-changer for the region’s town centres, requiring new tactics to reinvigorate shopping precincts.
Helping town centres weather the storm and grow on the other side would be a focus for the local authority, he said.
Mr Ross said: “Town centres are one of the concerning issues that we are going to have to deal with because the game has changed.
“A lot of them were struggling anyway and we will need to take a fresh approach to the whole thing.
“We are not at the stage of having any detailed proposals to look at but we are not sitting on our hands either.”
The council’s policy and coordination committee will meet remotely on May 21 and Fife Labour leader Mr Ross expects town centre recovery to be on the agenda.
Town centres across the country have suffered from changes in shopping habits over recent years and Kirkcaldy is one of those hit hard, having lost a number of major retailers including most recently M&S and Debenhams.
Mr Ross said that enabling more people to live in the area might aid its regeneration.
He said: “Kirkcaldy area committee convener Neil Crooks has been talking to a lot of people and we will be looking at how we could get more housing in there, for instance.
“I know Neil has been talking to a whole range of stakeholders so I’m as confident as I can be that we will have some positive ideas and positive plans when we come out of this.
“We also want to support small, local businesses who are struggling as much as we can.”
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