Cupar’s vacancy rates cut by 50%

Cupar has cut vacancy rates through the last three years – reducing vacant unit numbers by more than 50% since 2019. Although vacant units have seen a very small decline across the country in the last 12 months, Cupar is believed to have delivered the biggest drop of any town in Scotland, if not the UK.

Jim Hair, Chair of ABCD, the town’s business association, says: “National vacancy rates are still around the 15% mark. In Scotland, they are slightly higher. Cupar has reduced vacant units from 18.2% in 2019 to 8.6% in 2022 … more than a 50% drop. That sends a very positive message to all businesses and especially to those looking to invest in our vibrant 21st century market town.”

Chair of the town’s Development Trust, Bill Pagan, echoes the Business Association line, adding: “This is not by chance. Cupar featured recently on the BBC programme ‘My Kind of Town’ and one of the reasons we were chosen as a destination to feature on the series is because we are home to Scotland’s only digital improvement district, CuparNow, whose various platforms show the town’s active community and vibrant businesses.”

The digital improvement district was created in 2018 as a demonstration project and was formally launched in 2019. Since then, it has created, shared and published content every day on a variety of digital channels – promoting the town’s businesses, community projects & events, culture & tourism attractions, education & training providers, environmental initiatives, healthcare services as well as social care and wellbeing support.  You can read some of the testimonials received via this link.

Bill adds: “A critical part of the CuparNow’s remit has been to show how managed, integrated digital communication and support services enable new, strategic collaborations and improve digital participation and skills. There can be no doubt CuparNow has delivered on these fronts and the day-to-day engagement with their 80,000-strong digital audience is helping to deliver sustainable economic benefits.”

Top in the Kingdom …

The latest data – published by Experian GOAD and included in Fife Council’s Local Area Economic Profiles 2021-22 – shows Cupar is outperforming every other location in Fife with the largest percentage drop over the last three years. Through the same period, nearby Anstruther, Glenrothes and St Andrews – together with Dunfermline and Inverkeithing – all saw the proportion of vacant units rise.

Local councillor, Margaret Kennedy, who sits on the CuparNow steering group, adds: “Throughout the last three years, including all lockdowns and their resulting restrictions, CuparNow’s services were delivered day by day – uninterrupted. Although we remain in very uncertain times, it is clear CuparNow’s daily support for the town’s businesses and wider community is delivering a very positive impact.”

Simon Baldwin of Destination Digital, the company that delivers CuparNow explains more, saying: “We have a five-year term to deliver what we promised from the outset. Three years in, we are creating and supporting strategic collaborations that are improving digital participation. More than 35% of the town’s population follows our Facebook page alone.” He adds: “The news on declining vacancy rates is very welcome and builds on other property-related successes including Cupar being listed as the most sought-after location for rural living in Scotland.


Open Day … you are welcome!

CuparNow is hosting an Open Day on Wednesday 1st March at Castlehill Community Centre in Cupar from 1300-1900.

The ‘drop in’ event is designed to help share more on what has been delivered in the last 12 months as well as plans for the year ahead.

Elements of the latest Annual Report will be covered and all who are interested are invited to read the report online ahead of the Open Day via


Thanks for reading!