People in Kilmarnock are working well together in the face of a changing High Street environment. BBC Scotland featured the town’s efforts in the face of BHS closures this week with a slot on the evening news. Comparing the town’s retail situation with that of other towns hit by the loss of a high street giant, the programme featured the moves of Council, business people and community to keep Kilmarnock’s heart beating despite all the local and national economic challenges.
Douglas Fraser, Business Correspondent, interviewed East Ayrshire Council’s Karl Doroszenko, Development Planning and Regeneration Manager, who has spearheaded the team responsible for restoration of more than 20 historic town centre buildings, bringing them back in to use as shops, offices and homes. He also spoke to Cove Boutique’s Tracy Murray, Chair of Kilmarnock Business Association, who emphasised the importance of team work between business people and Council, use of social media and the value of personal service which gives the edge to small businesses.
Councillor Jim Buchanan, Cabinet Member for Economy said: “We’re thrilled that BBC Scotland chose to film Kilmarnock as a positive example of how High Streets are surviving these challenging times. We’re seeing a shift of use in the Town Centre from mostly retail to a thriving restaurant and coffee shop scene, a place for festivals, markets and arts events and use of regenerated buildings for offices and residential use. Many more people now live and work in the town centre than did 5 years ago. Our efforts were recognised with the SURF award for most improved town and the BBC’s report reinforces the message.”