THERE’S a determination to ensure that Dunfermline keeps delivering and doesn’t end up “with a high street like Kirkcaldy”.

After the initial shock of the vote that will lead to the winding up of the Business Improvement District (BID) company within three months, talks will now begin on a replacement.

In the wake of the result, a statement from Dunfermline Delivers manager Lisa Edwards said on Friday: “We have worked very hard for Dunfermline town centre over the last few years and it has paid dividends. Compared to comparable towns, Dunfermline has been bucking the trend.

“The Outwith Festival will continue for this year. However, after September, we will not be able to continue with our programme of events and activities. BID in Bloom, Purple Flag and events such as Outwith, the fireworks, Christmas lights switch-on and food and craft weekends will all stop.”

It may not be quite so bleak as, speaking on Monday, Gillian Taylor, the council’s community manager for Dunfermline, said: “It’ll have to be a completely different model, we have to look at how we go forward with that and who runs it, but there is a commitment that we won’t let everything just stop because the BID is not there.

“I’m personally devastated with how the vote went, I’ve never worked with a better BID team, but Christmas won’t be cancelled. The lights will be there, we’ll still have a tree, it’s more how we run the events around it we have to look at.”

Vice-chairman of Dunfermline Delivers, Neil Mackie, said: “Now we, the directors, Fife Council and everyone else involved need to focus on the way forward as, quite frankly, if nothing is to take its place that will be absolutely suicidal for Dunfermline, both for the businesses and the community.”

He continued: “On Friday, I was completely shellshocked and going through the seven stages of grief. By the weekend, I thought, let’s look at what this new phoenix organisation could look like as we, as directors, cannot and will not allow all this good work to disappear.

“I’ve been Kingsgate Centre manager in this town for over 20 years and I’ve always been involved in a town centre organisation that makes a difference. I won’t tolerate it not going forward in some sort of format, we just need to see what that will be.

“If nothing replaces Dunfermline Delivers we’re going to end up with a high street like Kirkcaldy.”

There is an assumption that Fife Council, who used to run events like the fireworks display and Christmas lights switch-on, can just step in.

However, the convenor of the City of Dunfermline area committee, Councillor Helen Law, said: “Every effort will be made to ensure these events continue but it will be very difficult to deliver the same calibre of events that have brought so many people to Dunfermline.

“While Fife Council is still part-funding the festivals – we’ve given over £80,000 – we don’t have the events people or the expertise in the council to run them ourselves.

“In the past 10 years or so, the council’s budget has been cut by £300 million and we’ve lost thousands of staff members as a result, and it doesn’t look like things are going to get better.” Miss Taylor added: “With less people and the way the funding is, the council is more of an enabler than a do-er.

“The advantage of having the BID team was the area committee could give them funding for events like the fireworks and, together with the levy from BID payers, they would organise and run the events through their events manager.

“With that model now gone, we have a meeting next week to bring together the partners and see what we do now.”

Chairman of Dunfermline Delivers, Lloyd Pitcairn, said: “The Outwith Festival will go ahead as we sought assurances, in the event of a ‘No’ vote, that it would be OK.

“And it’s not as dire as saying Christmas is cancelled; there will be something, but no-one knows what it’ll look like right now.”

He said it was likely to be the last Outwith Festival, which has been shortlisted for Best Cultural Scheme in the UK, and added: “Chris Foote (events manager) and the board are in discussion with Fife Council regarding the other events such as the fireworks, Christmas lights switch-on and food and craft weekend, but sadly their continuation is questionable.

“We wanted to publicly thank Dunfermline Delivers’ board for all their support and hard work, this includes all past and present members who gave their time for free to help improve the town we love.

“We would also like to thank all the business and volunteers who have supported and helped Lisa and the team make a positive difference to the town, your support was greatly appreciated.

“Most of all, we would like to thank Lisa, Chris and Carly for everything they have done in the last few years.

“We know that it is possible other towns will now benefit from their passion and drive and its sad to think that a minority vote has ended such a progressive, award-winning movement that did so much to improve the local, national and international footprint of Dunfermline.”