COWDENBEATH is set to receive £550,000 and Lochgelly will get £300,000 to help breathe new life into their town centres.

That's their share of £4.3 million that was given to Fife Council by the Scottish Government to aid regeneration and revitalise the local economy.

The council said the money will be used for: "Securing property in Cowdenbeath town centre to support regeneration work and build the climbing tower for Fife's Regional Climbing and Bouldering Centre (Rockgelly) and carry out landscaping to complete the vision for Lochgelly Town House Square.

"These works will make the area suitable for a range of open-air community events."

In March it was announced that the Scottish Government had set aside £50m to help revitalise town centres across the country and that Fife Council had received the most money. They've now outlined how and where they plan to splash the cash.

Councillors at the policy and co-ordination committee agreed the outlay on Tuesday which will see the largest amount, £1.63m, spent in Kirkcaldy with £800,000 going to Leven, £570,000 going to Glenrothes and £450,000 to Cupar.

Dunfermline will get £300,000 and Inverkeithing is in line for £170,000, with the projects totalling some £4.7m.

Cowdenbeath MSP, Annabelle Ewing, said: “Fife received a higher portion of the Scottish Government’s £50m Town Centre Fund than any other local authority area and I am really pleased that projects in my constituency are to be supported with a share of those funds.

“£400,000 of that money is for the redevelopment of the Town House in Cowdenbeath into a third sector hub with a further £150,000 supporting the purchase of other property in the town centre to enable planned regeneration works.

“Inverkeithing will see the expansion of the impact of the town’s built heritage programme beyond the Conservation Area with a £170,000 injection, while another £300,000 will go towards a new Town House Square in Lochgelly which will be used to host open air events.

“Town centres everywhere have been really struggling in recent years but the figures show that places like Cowdenbeath and other nearby constituencies have been harder hit than many with, for example, town centre property vacancy rates running at twice the national average.

“So these Scottish Government funds are welcome, needed, deserved, and have the potential to be transformational in impact."

A report by Gordon Mole, interim chief officer for business and employability, said that the Mid-Fife area, and Kirkcaldy in particular, had been "classified as a priority having suffered the effects of rapid decline and lack of any significant investment for a number of years".

He added: "Whilst recognising that towns elsewhere in Fife also continue to face challenges, it is proposed that in order to support a stronger contribution towards the wider Fife economy, projects which will stimulate, support, and strengthen the local economies within the four Mid-Fife town centres of Kirkcaldy, Glenrothes, Leven and Cowdenbeath will be the main focus of the fund."

The proposed spend was welcomed by the council co-leaders, councillors David Ross and David Alexander, who represent areas in Kirkcaldy and Leven respectively.

Cllr Ross said: "As a council, we’re already committed to investment plans for our town centres to help create thriving places all around Fife. This funding is a welcome extra but it has to be spent on projects that can start before the end of March 2020.

“We need to look carefully, both at where we most need additional investment and where there are projects which can, realistically, make good use of it quickly. There will be many towns across Fife that would like to benefit from this initiative. But if we spread what is a relatively small amount of funding too thinly then we will fail to make a real impact with it.

“It is the town centres in Mid Fife and the Mid Fife economy more generally that are in greatest need of support and the proposed allocation of funding to projects reflects this.

“We hope there will be further funding for town centres from both the Scottish and UK governments in the future and that this might support projects in those areas of Fife that miss out this time.”

Cllr Alexander added: "We all know that town centres are suffering around the UK. There are no overnight fixes but, with a range of partners, we’re working towards town centres where people of all ages can live, work and visit to enjoy a mix of leisure, tourism, retail, culture and heritage opportunities."