Public input into three visions for Kirkcaldy’s waterfront is “critical”, a town councillor has said.
Neil Crooks, chair of the Kirkcaldy Area Committee, was speaking as town centre organisation Kirkcaldy 4 All unveiled proposals that could transform the heart of the town to local businesses on Tuesday.
With the removal of the current dual carriageway seemingly inevitable, political and business leaders are keen to see increased car parking and more pedestrian movement between the shopping precinct and the promenade.
Before a wider public consultation, Mr Crooks said replacing the current arrangement would have huge benefits for the town.
“What we have at the moment is a block between accessing the waterfront and the High Street and that needs to be corrected,” he said.
“When it comes to people walking along the Fife Coastal Path, businesses want these people spending time in the High Street and the dual carriageway blocks that.
“Another reason is the lack of parking since we built the swimming pool on the town’s busiest car park.
“With these proposals we want to hear what peoples opinions are. It is critical we hear from people in the town, not just councillors.”
The three proposals would see the removal of the dual carriageway, replaced by a single road in either direction.
Two of the projects would see additional parking spaces created — one places these along the waterfront, the other suggests installing parking on the north side of the road, closer to the town centre.
A third idea would see a single carriageway created in either direction with an expanded central reservation opened up to host community events, such as markets and festivals.
Though controversial, Fife Council has conducted traffic surveys which suggest reducing the Esplanade to a single lane is sustainable.
Bill Harvey and Harry Cormie, the manager and chairman of Kirkcaldy 4 All, were showing off the proposals yesterday, with Mr Harvey saying: “It was a great success when we did a similar exercise for phase three of the High Street regeneration.
“We consulted with 17 or 18 businesses and many of those comments were taken on board.
“That is the process we are going through just now with the Esplanade and while the final decision is that of Fife Council’s it shows that the council is wanting to engage with businesses.”