Dundee’s ambitious waterfront project has been held up as an example by those hoping to transform Kirkcaldy’s fortunes.
As a masterplan to redevelop the town’s ailing centre was approved by councillors on Wednesday, Dundee was cited as an illustration of how things could be done.
The future of Kirkcaldy’s waterfront is regarded as key to the entire long-term vision drawn-up by council planners following a public consultation.
It is separated from the rest of the town centre by a four-lane main road and is lined with several ugly buildings, some of which are disused. This has led to a sense of isolation, with the Esplanade under-used by the public.
As the plan was discussed by members of Fife Council’s Kirkcaldy area committee, Councillor Marie Penman said: “The Esplanade is the key thing we are not using properly.
“I spent a lot of time in Dundee recently. What they’ve done is what we should be aspiring to. They’ve admitted to their mistakes, wiped it out and started again and what a difference it’s made.”
Councillor Susan Leslie said Dundee had successfully tapped into its links with Captain Scott and the Discovery to attract visitors and suggested Kirkcaldy could do the same with its most famous son: economist Adam Smith.
Chairman Neil Crooks said the council is in talks with those behind Dundee’s V&A project with a view to establishing links with Kirkcaldy Galleries.
The waterfront is just one element of the Kirkcaldy vision, which has been divided into four sections to include opportunities for shopping, culture and heritage and socialising.
Other proposals include a complete redevelopment and expansion of the Postings shopping centre to include retail and leisure opportunities, improved links between the bus station and High Street, which could include a covered walkway, demolition of the Thistle Street car park and reinstating the original design of Charlotte Street to open up the route between High Street and the waterfront.
It is also hoped to reduce the dominance of cars and make life easier for pedestrians, create social spaces in High Street and the town square and utilise the Old Kirk’s potential to play a greater role in cultural activities.
While the council will not carry out the work, the plan will show potential developers what is expected in the bid to turn Kirkcaldy into a modern and successful centre.
Council leader David Ross said: “We’ve had plans before which looked good but have not actually achieved much. Things have changed and we need to make sure these actually happen and don’t just remain as good ideas.”