Grants and Funding

Public Realm Case Study

Project: Cupar Conservation Area Regeneration Scheme (CARS), Fife
Theme: Public Realm

The Project

Grantee organisation Fife Council
Total HES funding £1,019,000
Total Scheme Cost £7,078,296
Scheme Delivery Period 2014-2019

Cupar CARS was delivered in conjunction with a Townscape Heritage Initiative (THI) funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund (NLFH). A range of building repair projects, training, engagement, and heritage activities were delivered as part of the scheme. These all helped to achieve the scheme vision for the Conservation Area which included the repair of deteriorating buildings and finding new uses for key historic buildings to bring about greater social and economic activity for the town. One of these key historic buildings was the vacant Burgh Chambers, repaired and brought back into use as short-term holiday let accommodation.

Theme: Public Realm

Several public realm enhancement projects, including the £1.5m reconfiguration of the town centre and upgrading of surrounding pavements, were included in the scheme. Whilst Fife Council provided the majority of the funding for this work, the CARS funding helped to support the cost of conservation repairs to the Mercat Cross and also some of the repair work carried out to closes in the town.

The network of historic closes and wynds in Cupar provide key access routes to and from the town centre and the repair project made these more attractive and safe for users. The project included new high-quality paving,

improved lighting, repairs to walls and ceilings, and improved signage and interpretation. The work with the closes resulted in Fife Council establishing a template/design for dealing with other closes and wynds in Cupar, subject to future funding becoming available.

View of Steele

Steele’s Close, Cupar. Image © FHBT

Key Findings/Conclusions

Public realm works can often help to support the delivery of the objectives for an area based scheme and increase its overall impact. These works are sometimes funded solely by the Local Authority as they can attract the capital funding required for these and there can also be limitations with what the HES funding can be used to support in relation to public realm.

In Cupar, the majority of the public realm improvements were carried out by Fife Council and were not HES funded, highlighting the value of combining different regeneration activities that can still compliment one another and deliver shared outcomes.

Given that some areas of public realm can be complex in terms of services and ownership, research into responsibilities and ownership should be established as early as possible to determine whether or not a project is possible.