450,000 new ideas to improve Dunfermline town centre

REBUILD Dunfermline Palace, turn Canmore Street into a ‘posh bar street’, convert half of the Glen into an amusement park and put a glass roof over the High Street. 

A cinema, leisure facilities and a rooftop cafe – “similar to the Bullring shopping centre in Barcelona” – could be built at the Co-op gap site, trams re-introduced to High Street and Malcolm Canmore’s Tower used for weddings and concerts. 

A “Piccadilly Circus-style welcome to the town”, at the “mess” where Pilmuir Street and Carnegie Drive meet, and a public square south of Bridge Street (first suggested in 1904!) with bars, shops and offices, have also been put forward.  

These are just some of the ideas for Dunfermline that are set to be developed after funding of £450,000 was confirmed this week. 

The suggestions came from a weekend of brainstorming, where more than 150 people aired their suggestions and complaints in October about housing, heritage, shopping, green spaces, anti-social behaviour, the public realm and transport. 

The Blueprint Dunfermline drop-in was organised by architectural firm Sam Foster Architects, based in East Port, and local culture blog Avocado Sweet. 

The feedback and proposals were compiled in a Design Dunfermline report that will now be developed thanks to £24,800 of cash from the Scottish Government’s Making Places fund, £288,200 from the Heritage Lottery Fund and £137,000 from Fife Council, Fife Cultural Trust, Dunfermline Carnegie Trust and Dunfermline Delivers. 

The aim is to come up with an ambitious strategy and single, unified vision for a growing town. 

 

Other ideas include:  

Carnegie Clinic to be exercise facility for youths with trampolines, rock-climbing and basketball.

Viewing tower with a cafe/restaurant on top.

Demolish the old Boots building on High Street.

Remove traffic from High Street with trams between Public Park and the Glen.

Build underground car parks.

Turn old post office into hotel or Jamie Oliver restaurant. 

Beer garden with “nice views”. 

 

A West End zone to link the theatres.

A greater variety and better balance of shops.

Areas for market stalls, reduced rates and parking charges.

Less charity/cheap shops and more niche and independent retailers. 

Anchor store needed at the bottom end of High Street.

Out-of-town retail developments stopped and owners forced to smarten up retail premises. 

Segway tours in both the Glen and Public Park.

Exercise areas and an enchanted forest. 

The drop-in event showed that people wanted more families to stay in the town centre, with empty buildings to be turned into flats, and there is a lack of hotels and hostels, it was felt.  

Dunfermline should make more of its history and royal connections, re-open Abbot House, get better signs and make more of the area around St Margaret’s Cave. 

Participants want anti-social behaviour to be effectively tackled and to “get rid” of litter and beggars, they also want to improve the paving and pedestrianisation, have more squares and plazas, electric bike stations and park and ride facilities to bring people into the town. 

The Design Dunfermline report said the population, from 55,000 today, is set to to climb to an estimated 71,000 by 2029. 

It added: “It is clearly important that the town centre develops in a way that supports all of these people, encouraging them to use this place rather than driving to Perth, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Stirling for shops and attractions.  

“It is equally important to recognise that the attraction of a place is not solely based on the ease of parking and number of large shops – important as those are. 

“It is a mix of green spaces, diversity of shopping opportunities, balance of roads and pedestrianisation, attractive streetscapes, a feeling of quality and groundedness and a clear sense of place – as well as countless other factors – that help make a place attractive to people.”

Proposals included turning Bruce Street into an area like the Shambles in York, or Ashton Lane in Glasgow, full of ‘nice’ shops, cafes, outside heaters, patisseries and delis, and with a colourful canopy like ‘Umbrella Street’ in Bath.

The top of Public Park could have a boating lake, cafe and football pitch while another suggestion was to “give the town centre to Ian Moir as he knows what works – Fire Station Creative”. 

Dunfermline Press
30th January 2018