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Kirkcaldy expansion master plan approved

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November 5 2014

Kirkcaldy expansion master plan approved

A significant expansion of the Fife town of Kirkcaldy has been approved, paving the way for delivery of over 1,000 homes, a primary school, shops and community centre.

The £500m scheme envisages development of a former mining area over the next two decades, subdividing it into a number of phased ‘neighbourhoods’ around a traditional village centre.

Work to deliver the first phase of the giant scheme, its affordable housing component, will begin next year together with improvements to the local road network.

Jestyn Davies from Murray Estates commented: "We are delighted to secure planning at Kingdom Park. This is one of our flagship projects which has already attracted a huge amount of market interest both from house  builders and retailers           

Kingdom Park has been master planned by Gillespies and JM Architects on behalf of Murray Estates.

8 Comments

Sven
#1 Posted by Sven on 5 Nov 2014 at 14:06 PM
This is a greenfield suburban development, not redeveloping a former mining area. The developers are making a 600% profit margin. "phased ‘neighbourhoods’ around a traditional village centre" means a communally owned (and factored) green bit of grass with some half dead shrubs that are maintained at great cost but never look good, esp with dog poop and a toddlers swing park. Phasing means multiple big house builders building their own developments.
David
#2 Posted by David on 5 Nov 2014 at 15:09 PM
Hmmm good point Sven...looking at the aerial on their site it looks like there is open cast mining in some areas around the site, however the site to me doesn't show any history of the same. Even if it did, it was clearly greenfield before that, and it's clearly greenfield now. So what makes it a legitimate argument that it might once have been a mining area? Poor show indeed. Bang on the doorstep of a beautiful natural coastline too.

http://www.murray-estates.co.uk/our-portfolio/current/kingdom-park/

https://www.google.co.uk/maps/place/Kirkcaldy,+Fife/@56.1412612,-3.1253577,4983m/data=!3m1!1e3!4m2!3m1!1s0x488635542fda10bd:0xd0017abd4be5692d
Mike
#3 Posted by Mike on 5 Nov 2014 at 16:33 PM
The site was formally unstable due to deep mining in the area. It was used for grazing and is very poor quality agriculture grade land. It was opencast back in the 2000s to make it safe for development, but stalled due to the recession in 2008. So in effect, it is a greenfield expansion on an old mining area. It's one of two major expansions planned for the town along with a large number of allocated brownfield sites internal to the town. A recent planning charrette was held to the latter. (http://www.fifedirect.org.uk/kdycharrette) A whole town approach has been adopted to planning with greenfield and brownfield development proposed to assist regeneration and meet local housing targets. Mixed uses are to be incorpoated and a new secondary school is to be built to help regenerate the wider residential areas which are amongst the most deprived in Scotland. Originally a rail halt was also planned with the expansion but this was knocked back as it sits next to the East Coast Main Line, where the priority is to deliver speedier journeys between the cities.
Walt Disney
#4 Posted by Walt Disney on 6 Nov 2014 at 12:19 PM
The question that people should be asking is "Is more Kirkcaldy a good thing?" I think if anything, the world could do with much less Kirkcaldy. Fife could do with more Aberdour.
Eb. Howard
#5 Posted by Eb. Howard on 6 Nov 2014 at 14:08 PM
There is a demand for housing, but my worry is that the proposed model didn't work 60 years ago, and doesn't work any better now.

Look at Glenrothes. This was modelled on the same principles of residential areas grouped around 'Neighbourhood' centres. These centre's have been failing for years, as people prefer to travel out to supermarkets for their shopping. So they become nothing more than a bookies, a corner shop & the yoof hang out spots.

I'm sure if we look past the mass profits of the housing developers that there are good intentions in design, however I just can't see this being anything more than another bland suburban neighbourhood.
The sketch above reminds me so much of those produced 60 years ago when Glenrothes was on the drawing board. A grassy Utopia.

I'm not sure what the alternative model is, but the answer isn't repeating past failures.
Mike
#6 Posted by Mike on 7 Nov 2014 at 09:14 AM
Actually the earlier phases of Glenrothes work rather well. Walkable neighbourhoods with good greenspaces, schools, local shops and for the most part quality mixed housing. The neighbourhood centres in the town are almost fully occupied bar one (Glenwood), and there are architectural design reasons why that one hasn't worked. Despite its failures the Glenwood Neighbourhood Centre is being redeveloped by private sector with new shops being built. The question mark hangs over the old part of that centre.

The walkable neighbourhood model is tried and tested and if good design standards are adopted there is no reason why it shouldn't work. Where it failed was designers trying to overdesign using new in vogue designs, for example the clumsy Radburn principle schemes and using cheaper building styles and materials that were adopted in the 1960s.

The recent award winning Commonwealth Village was built on the walkable neighbourhood model and is one good example of how to go about it.

The alternative would be to seek comprehensive redevelopment in older areas of towns and cities upping the densities. But there is neither the appetite nor political will to do this at a level that would satisfy housing demand Nationally.
Eb. Howard
#7 Posted by Eb. Howard on 7 Nov 2014 at 13:27 PM
I agree that would be a much more rewarding exercise as an alternative, Mike.

Incidentally, the areas of Glenrothes developed along the Radburn principles are of my favourite parts of the town. Cadham for example, was a great place to grow up as a kid. Lots of places to hide and play, however through its nature encourages crime, leading to that models downfall.

Yes there has been an increase in occupation in the neighbourhood centres recently, but that still doesn't mean they are pleasant urban environments. The Glamis centre, Glenwood, Cadham and even Woodside are not the most comfortable places to navigate. There is no real urban design to speak of. New town design is very difficult to get right, and I just hope that when it comes to the design of neighbourhood centres they can look past just shop & car park environments.
Mike
#8 Posted by Mike on 7 Nov 2014 at 13:58 PM
I grew up in South Parks which felt very garden city like and was lovely to live in. I know well how scary a place Glenwood could be. I agree the shopping elements of the town aren't pleasant urban environments. That has been Glenrothes' biggest failure as a place in my opinion - epitimised by the decline of the Kingdom Centre.

The urban neighbourhoods in the town, for the most part work well and are arguably of a better quality than most new build schemes developed today. Safe routes to school for kids, lots of pleasant green spaces, and a good mix of housing types and styles to suit a range of needs and tastes.

One of the benefits of major brownfield and greenfield development in Kirkcaldy is that you are achieving a more rounded approach to regenerating the town inside and out. It is yet to be seen how well designed the greenfield stuff is and time will only tell as to whether or not it is successful.

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