First in Fife
The Kincardine - Places for Everyone project was born out of a Making Places charrette in 2017. A key objective was to create a vital link to the conceptual outcome of the charrette, ‘The Forest to the Waterfront’. This links the amenity resource of the Devilla Forest to the heritage asset of the waterfront. Three significant priorities that emerged from this charrette were to improve connectivity and circulation, the environment, and everyone’s experience of the village. Out of the community links project the High Street, Feregait Junction, and North Approach Road emerged as key components for this wider village strategy of connectivity and heritage links. The project is funded by Sustrans, managed by Coalfields Regeneration Trust, and supported by the GoForth community group. The community of Kincardine explored how a new positive mindset changed their outlook from a ‘forgotten village’ on the edge of Fife to the ‘First in Fife’.
Cycle Routes and Safe Crossings
The project aims to improve connections between existing focal points within and around the town, linking the long-distance Fife Coast route into the High Street, with improved wayfinding, cycle provisions, and traffic priority changes. There has been more than a 5,000m2 increase in pedestrian spaces and over 1.0km of additional designated cycle routes. Establishing greater priority for pedestrians at key streets and junctions as well as reconsidering bus routes within the town centre. Wider ambitions include encouraging more cycle use for primary school pupils, and ensuring that these routes are safe and attractive for unaccompanied 12-year-old children. New pedestrian priority crossings proposed to the main streets are designed to provide maximum safety and accessibility for all. The North Approach Road is a trunk road and therefore Transport Scotland is consulted at every stage on the project and will be a statutory consultee for the planning application and technical applications to follow.
Active travel just one day a week makes a significant impact on carbon emissions in addition to the well-documented health benefits, therefore the project aims to improve connections between existing destination points within and around the town, linking the long-distance Fife Coast route into the High Street, with improved wayfinding, cycle provisions, and traffic priority changes. It is proposed to increase the pedestrian realm by 5,050m2 and over 1.0km of additional cycle routes. Establishing greater priority for pedestrians at key streets and junctions as well as reconsidering bus routes within the town centre. Wider ambitions include encouraging more cycle use for primary school pupils, and ensuring that these routes are safe and attractive for unaccompanied 12-year-old children. By promoting and enabling active travel modes such as cycling enables Kincardine residents to integrate increased physical health as well as reduces greenhouse emissions and air pollution from traffic. The project’s improvements to the High Street, Feregait Junction, and North Approach Road aim to encourage people to walk and cycle within the town, rather than rely on car use
Community Engagements and Design Workshops
Kincardine has a strong sense of community and a very industrious past. Residents have been part of the project from the start and helped shape the design in the concept stages. The scheme has a people-first approach to design, creating safe, attractive, and engaging spaces in the heart of the town. A revitalised and sustainable high street for everyone elderly and young will benefit from the changes to the high street providing safe routes for bicycles and a place to meet friends without heavy traffic or buses. This is a project led by the community from the early ideas from the Charrette, it is for the betterment of the community. Reducing clutter as part of the project and creating areas of seating and bike parking to make it a more welcoming environment for active travel users. Introducing trees and rain gardens into the street scape will enhance the environment of the High Street. Upgrading and introducing new active travel routes branching off from the junction so it is well connected to the surrounding network. Refining the road layout around the High Street and the junction to better balance facilities for both vehicles and active travel users, and pedestrians to safer cross the road.
Local businesses have been engaged in the proposals to ensure that there is wholesale support for the improvements. I large vacant unit in the centre of the High Street is currently under review to become a vibrant community café, indoor market, play and workspace facility. Redefining vacant units on the high street is vital to support the town and increase the diversity and vibrancy of the place.
The community is optimistic about the potential for changes and improvements within the village. Throughout several community engagements and design workshops over the past few years, the design has evolved to accommodate their desires whilst complying with best practices in design and statutory guidance from Fife Council and Transport Scotland.
Overall, the scheme encourages placemaking that promotes greater use of public space and higher levels of sustainable travel. The project prioritises walking and cycling over private motor vehicle movements and demonstrates a creative and integrated approach to urban design.
The charrette outcomes highlighted a strong desire to enhance the commercial activity on the High Street and make it a more people-friendly space. The project investigated improving the physical appearance of the street and shop fronts and redirecting bus routes out of the High Street. Buses and their facilities took up over 50% of the space and were a dangerous intervention, compromising the pedestrian spaces and dangerously overhanging footpaths. Paving is enhanced, as well as seating, cycle racks, lighting, play elements, and planting throughout the High Street. The scheme has a people-first approach to design, creating safe, attractive, and engaging spaces in the heart of the town. A revitalised and sustainable high street for everyone.
The environment and atmosphere of the High Street will change significantly with the removal of the busses and their infrastructure, it will be a safer and more pleasant place to dwell and become a real focus for the community. The two significant heritage elements on the High Street, the War Memorial and Mercat Cross will be provided with new settings which responds to the Heritage Conservation Statement.
An ‘incidental’ playable space is a public space where recreational features such as landscaping or high-quality public art make it playable. These informal play elements set in the landscape are to encourage families to spend more time on the High Street, creating more of a place for all.
To activate the high street and encourage people to stay longer, we have introduced an element of play to the landscape. These play structures are inspired by Kincardine’s history, with the structures inspired by the industrial past, chimneys of Longannet, and the town's fishing heritage. These play structures will be multifunctional, also offering lighting, charging points, posts for market stall canopies, and periscopes.
One of the main outcomes from the Charrette in 2016 was the connection between the Forest and Waterfront. The High Street is a key hinge point in this connection and this project presents an opportunity to emphasise this link through visual connections. The periscope idea was derived from the vertical elements which represent the fishing and power station (chimneys) heritage of the village. The view gained from the periscopes will connect the high street to the waterfront and the forest, two key areas of the village history and future. Viewers can peer through the periscopes at different heights, engaging in an experiential dialogue with the site. The installation invites both residents and visitors to appreciate the views of the bridges, shoreline, and nearby forest from different perspectives to create a new sense of interaction and play. The High Street periscopes are to be designed to allow the viewers to look at Kincardine differently. Each of the three periscopes is to have a controlled view at a different angle towards the waterfront as well as Devilla Forest. The direction of the views will be carefully managed to avoid any privacy issues and the angle of views will be constrained. The viewfinders will be adaptable or will be set at different heights to allow people of all ages and abilities to get a view. The periscopes aim to engage kids and adults in a Kincardine exploration through creative, educational, and practical participation.
High Street Components
To maximise the environmental improvements and use of the High Street, it is proposed that several design solutions are implemented, these respond to best practice in Landscape Architecture. Including a multi-functional and flexible people space at the heart of the community.
The High Street will become a multiple-use space designed to increase:
· Footfall and Community Use
· Active Travel
· Play and Education
· Sustainability and Biodiversity
The interpretation of the history of the village and working heritage in playful and sculptural elements within the High Street will generate a place of identity. The vertical features and use of materials from the chimneys or power station is a functional solution but one that is also reflecting activities that once happened and the stories of the village. Offering opportunity for weekly farmers markets, Events, and Christmas celebrations. A flexible use will help activate the High Street and support local businesses. These spaces will also offer space to socialise and support the community.
Rain gardens offer increased biodiversity and habitats for pollinators, such as butterflies and bees, as well as decreasing localised flood risk, offering a sustainable drainage network during times of high rainfall. Incorporating rain gardens and other on-site rainwater management techniques are environmentally sensible, and full of educational opportunities. They also offer aesthetically pleasing spaces to sit, relax or play, and aim to increase the dwell and spend on the High Street.
Shared surfaces reduce the dominance of vehicles by encouraging drivers to drive at lower speeds and be more aware of pedestrians. this is often achieved by omitting the kerbs and levelling the surface. These pedestrian and cycle priority streets encourage active travel, reduce street ‘clutter’, and calm the traffic environment. They are a people first principle where the streets are designed as spaces for all with the cone of hierarchy inversed, with pedestrians at the top and vehicles at the bottom. Principles which are promoted by the Scottish and UK Governments, Transport Scotland and the DfT.