Businesses have given their resolute backing to plans to revive Kirkcaldy town centre by delivering a ‘Yes’ vote for Scotland’s latest Business Improvement District (BID).
There are almost 500 businesses in the Kirkcaldy BID area. They are mainly retail, both national and independents with some leisure businesses such as pubs, cafés and restaurants, and a small office sector. The Kirkcaldy BID is unusual in that the BID area also includes the museum, art gallery, library and AdamSmithCollege.
The Kirkcaldy BID is committed to improving the town centre by attracting new investment and creating a more attractive environment for local people. It will deliver a wide range of additional activities to enhance the experience for both visitors to the town and residents alike and will allow businesses to maximise their trade throughout the year.
The main focus of the BID projects will be area promotion to attract more customers into the town centre. Under the theme of “Safe and Welcoming” the BID will work to reduce antisocial behaviour and retail crime by employing Street Ambassadors who will work closely with the businesses and the local police. Street Ambassadors have been very successful in other towns and cities, where their visual presence is a deterrent to criminals, yet reassuring to customers and staff.
Other planned projects will include employing a Crime Reduction Manager to help tackle the increase in the number of shoplifting incidents and other antisocial behaviour in the town centre, improving the physical appearance of Kirkcaldy and helping businesses by introducing cost savings such as a group purchasing scheme. In addition, a business forum will be established and through the BID businesses will have a collective voice.
Dom Panetta, chairman of the BID Steering Group which has been at the forefront of the Kirkcaldy BID said:
“"This is fantastic news and I am confident and excited about the difference that the BID will make. The future of our town centre is now in the hands of those who will directly benefit, our town centre businesses.
Thanks to Sunil Varu, our Town Centre Manager, who first introduced us to the concept and to Linda McIntosh, the BID Co-ordinator, for their hard work and tenacity in achieving this on our collective behalf.
The hard work now begins in setting up a new BID Company and shaping the delivery of the Business Plan with the help of the businesses in partnership with Fife Council and Fife Constabulary. In the fullness of time, I am confident the BID will make a major difference to businesses in Kirkcaldy Town Centre".
“At last a good news story for Kirkcaldy High Street"
The Kirkcaldy BID is the ninth BID in Scotland and is supported by Fife Council.
Voting took place throughout February with the ballot closing on Thursday March 4th.
A total of 38.3% of eligible businesses voted representing 46.8% of the rateable value and easily satisfying the turnout threshold of 25%. 66.2% of businesses voted in favour of the BID which represented 63.5% of the rateable value, a resounding mandate for the BID.
John Swinney, Cabinet Secretary for Finance & Sustainable Growth said:
“The decision to form a Business Improvement District in Kirkcaldy has the potential to boost the local economy in these challenging times. The Scottish Government stands full square behind businesses across Scotland and, through our economic recovery plan, is acting to position the economy for recovery. We are fully supportive of BIDs because they enable businesses to work together for their collective benefit and for the good of the local economy. I look forward to seeing the Kirkcaldy BID progress and wish all involved well."
Councillor Tony Martin, Strategic Chair of Fife Council’s Environment, Enterprise and Transportation committee, added:
“Friday’s YES vote is great news for Kirkcaldy and for Fife. It really illustrates the commitment of local businesses to the town centre and empowers this key group of stakeholders to shape and influence the development of the town.
“The BID gives Kirkcaldy a green light to embark on an extremely exciting phase in its development. We are looking forward to working with the Kirkcaldy BID and Kirkcaldy’s creative and innovative business community to deliver the proposed projects and create a Kirkcaldy which is a great place to live, work, visit and invest.”
Ian Davison Porter, Project Director, Business Improvement Districts Scotland concluded:
“This is great news for Kirkcaldy and the businesses in the town centre now have a real opportunity to make a difference to the business environment in Kirkcaldy in these challenging times. The Kirkcaldy BID now has to deliver on its business plan.”