COWDENBEATH High Street is getting a make-over and in just four short months will be transformed.

The SUSTRANS Project went in to full swing in July and is starting to bear fruit with the transformation of the Green Square being at the heart of it and future work on Brunton Square.

At the core of this project has been community involvement and the great degree of civic pride that the people of Cowdenbeath have for their town. The town’s community council has played an important role and real results are starting to be seen.

Cowdenbeath has a rich mix of high quality independent retailers with many years of experience providing a valuable and trusted service with people travelling to visit the town. It is important that these businesses are supported to grow and flourish and improvement works throughout the town can help.

Andrew Walker, of Fife Council’s Town Centre Development Unit, said: “The town is well served with a number of facilities. There has been considerable public investment in buildings such as the Community Centre, on Stenhouse Street, a new skate park and planned improvements to the leisure centre.

“These things are complemented by private investment in housing and new retail outlets at the north end of the town.

“People want to feel safe within the town at all times of day and improved street lighting and winter lighting has supported this, encouraging people to walk into town. The approach includes improved paving surfaces to ensure people of all ages and abilities can make their way safely around the town centre.

“Pit Road is now a pedestrianised zone and provides a good link between High Street and the Leisure Centre.”

New businesses have emerged on High Street which has added to the changing look. He added: “We want to bring colour and vibrancy into the town. Cowdenbeath Town Centre has a mix of day time and evening economy so at some points of the day there was a wall of grey shutters. The ongoing Shutter Art project has been successful in brightening these up to provide colour and vibrancy at all times of the day and we already have several businesses at the north end of High Street committed to Shutter Art work being done at their premises”

“Cowdenbeath Community Council secured an Awards for All funding package which has been used to support the shutter art and the creation of murals including a new large mural which will be on the gable end of a building overlooking the new civic square.

Mr Walker added: “Cowdenbeath is rightly proud of its mining heritage and it is important that we acknowledge that. It’s also important to embrace today and provide a clean safe and attractive environment for the town’s people to enjoy with places and spaces where people can meet and socialise.

“Looking to the past the transformation of Brunton Square into a heritage garden will reflect the mining heritage of the town, creating an attractive gateway into High Street and giving people a place to socialise. The Miners Mural on the wall of Brunton House has been a fantastic success with not only the people of Cowdenbeath, but with people nationally and internationally celebrating the work.

"We are so lucky to have such a talented artist, Kerry Wilson, helping to bring colour and creativity to the town and she will be creating the new murals over the coming weeks and months”

He went on: “At present, the creation of formal Civic Space in the heart of the town centre is so very important, giving people a place to meet, a reason to spend more time within the town centre and a place to hold events. Encouraging year round activity whether through events and shows or markets giving local people the opportunity to show their creative talent.

“The former Green Square has been extended westward to the edge of High Street with turf and planters already in place. Kerry will be working on the mural on the gable end in the New Year with the first real event in the new formed civic space will be the switching on of the town’s Christmas lights and the visit of Santa on 30th November.

.“This will be a place where people can stop and have a blether on a normal day but from time to time will be the place where various events can be staged. The new Civic Square will give the town a new community hub which will provide an attractive feature in the centre of the town.”

Mr Walker also commented on the arrival of Lidl and B&M at the north end of High Street. saying: “This project will make such a huge difference to this part of the retail area of Cowdenbeath and it really is an exciting time for the people of the town.

“By the middle of next year the High Street will look completely different and hopefully to complete things the Crown Hotel site will also be given a new lease of life.”

As a partnership the Community, the Community Council and Fife Council have brought nearly £1.5million of funding in to the town through a variety of funders including SUSTRANS, Fife Environmental Trust, Scottish Government and Fife Council. Projects already funded include free town centre Wi-Fi, Gazebos’ and Marquees for Civic Week, Winter Lighting in and around the leisure centre and the entrance to Morrison’s.

Andrew added: “Partnership working has been crucial to the process with Fife Council working with Cowdenbeath Community Council, the business community and the people of the town, to ensure that everyone’s voice and ideas are heard. The work has been making good progress throughout the town and is developing well ensuring Cowdenbeath has a strong sense of place and community”