While people in other towns moan about poor or non-existent Christmas decorations, the business community in Kilmarnock is working with the Council, showing the kind of proactive, co-operative, “can do” attitude which earned the town it’s SURF Most Improved Town Award this time last year.
Peter Telfer, Business Partner at Urquhart Opticians felt it was time that Portland Road was included in the town’s Christmas illuminations, but, knowing that local authorities all over the UK are working under tremendous financial constraints, he realised that it would not be feasible to expect East Ayrshire to fund and erect new lights for the street, which is home to many thriving new and long standing businesses.
Instead he decided to talk to fellow proprietors, asked them to help fund a collaborative effort, and then approached Town Centre Manager, Fiona Nicolson, who works with the Council’s Economic Development team, with his idea.
Fiona was delighted to help, finding a contribution to the funding and making the necessary connections with appropriate colleagues from ARA to discuss logistics and feasibility. In turn, ARA made several site visits and agreed to order and install the lights on behalf of the businesses.
Fiona said: “In all 11 businesses in the Portland Road area contributed to the lights. It’s been a fantastic effort, I must give due credit to Peter for instigating this idea. He’s a very active member of the Kilmarnock Business Association and this project is a great example of the partnership working we’re fostering in the Town Centre, with businesses, and Economic Development working together to improve opportunities and quality of life for all who use our towns.
“Urquhart’s Opticians celebrated their 100th anniversary this year, so it’s very fitting that they’re helping light up this part of the town – the lights help to link it to the main shopping areas, making it more inviting for shoppers and people visiting the many and varied offices and businesses in that area. I’m very proud of the way Kilmarnock businesses strive to improve not just their own places, but also the environment and community in which they function. None of us could have achieved this alone, but with joined up thinking and practical solutions we’ve done it. I think it’s setting a great example for others to follow.”
Peter said: “We have to thank East Ayrshire Council, Ayrshire Roads Alliance and Fiona Nicolson for supporting the Portland Road businesses in our bid to light-up this part of the town centre for Christmas. Portland Road is home to a wide variety of businesses and we’re thrilled to have this important route into the town centre now included in Kilmarnock’s festive decorations.”
The businesses which contributed to the lights are:
James Guthrie & Co
Portland Dental Practice
Henry Brown & Co
Thomson Hunter Architects
Gilmour Hamilton & Co