Perfect weather shed a good light on Kilmarnock last week as Phil Williams, President of the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) met Provost Jim Todd and members of East Ayrshire Council’s Regeneration team to see for himself the reasons why Kilmarnock was recently voted Most Improved Town in the Scottish Urban Regeneration Forum (SURF) awards.
After a warm welcome from the Provost, Mr Williams was taken first to the Burns Monument Centre, passing Willowbank School and St Joseph’s Academy. From the Kay Park he got a great view and perspective of the town, before visiting the new College building in Hill Street, the Kilmarnock Railway Station to see the community led improvements and new facilities. Next stop was WG13 where CVO chief Fiona Fawdry gave him a guided tour of the regenerated building, the restaurant, meeting rooms and IT hub. They then walked down John Finnie Street, passing the Opera House offices and the “Blue Triangle” Building, where work is just starting on the new business hub for fledgling companies.
From there, the party visited the Johnnie Walker Bond, and then on to The Cross, to visit the Global Market and meet Town Centre Manager Fiona Nicolson. They then walked down Bank Street, down Nelson Street and across the “Timmer Brig” into King Street and back up Portland Street to finish at the car park.
President Williams, who is also Director of Planning and Place at Belfast City Council was impressed with his visit. He said: “”I can understand why Kilmarnock has been named Most Improved Town in Scotland. Its politicians have worked hand in hand with officials to take a long-term and strategic approach to the area. This has meant taking some bold decisions and bringing different functions together that make a difference for communities. Planning has had a key role to play in this.”
Provost Jim Todd said:” We were delighted to welcome Mr Williams to Kilmarnock and our team very much enjoyed taking him on tour to appreciate all the buildings we’ve had a hand in creating and renovating in recent years. It’s a route to make anyone proud of our town and what’s even more exciting is that we’re not finished yet. With co-operation from our partners and building owners we’ve already achieved a great deal, but as the start of work at the Blue Triangle Building at 30-38 John Finnie Street shows, there’s a lot yet to come!”