With climate change and the environment high on everyone’s agenda just now, Kilmarnock’s Town Centre Regeneration team is making big progress with their plans to make the area more attractive and easily accessible for pedestrians, improve connections with the centre, and open up “green space” for everyone to enjoy.
An ambitious project at St Marnock Square, on the corner of Titchfield Street and St Marnock Street, which involved the demolition of the former “Mothercare” building, is now moving onto its second phase. A temporary grassed area, a path has been laid out to allow passers-by to begin to enjoy a green breathing space at the gateway to the pedestrian centre in King Street.
Now Faithful and Gould have been appointed to oversee the design and implementation of an innovative “green space” with seating and eco-friendly planting to transform the area into a multi-purpose haven in the town centre.
They’re basing the work on the results a series of extensive consultations, which have pulled together the views of the public, professionals, traders and third sector organisations to find the best possible use for the site.
Celebrate Kilmarnock also hosted the site’s first ever community event “Fair in the Square” in September which gave them an opportunity to engage with people about the plans for the site and showcase local businesses.
The whole area will be brightened further with an imaginative mural,
which will take up the gable end of the newly exposed gable end at the south end of the site.
Councillor Douglas Reid, Leader of East Ayrshire Council, whose Town Centre Regeneration Team has been working on the plans together with Celebrate Kilmarnock, Kilmarnock Business Association and community planning partners said: “It’s very exciting to see this and some of our other projects starting to take shape after a long process of consultation and planning.
“As it looks just now, the site is already a welcome addition to the town centre, but once we have the final design and the mural in place we’re very confident we’ll have a fantastic new outdoor venue for all to enjoy.
“We know just how important green spaces are for cutting pollution, but having closer contact with a more natural environment and an easily accessible place to meet friends, visit a pop up event, or even just sit and watch the world go by, also helps with our mental health.
“St Marnock Square is only one of several initiatives taking shape throughout the town. All these are aimed at making “active travel” on foot, by pram, wheelchair or bicycle more easily accessible. St Marnock Square will be an important stop on the new Infinity Loop which is currently in development through East Ayrshire Leisure.
Elaine Cowan said: “Celebrate Kilmarnock's aim is to ensure that local people are directly involved in owning, designing and shaping the future of our town. We hope everyone will agree that the transformation of this site offers an exciting opportunity to vastly improve the appearance of a gateway entrance to our town centre.”
Peter Telfer, Chair of Kilmarnock Business Association said: “St Marnock Square is probably one of the biggest town centre developments in recent times. Throughout the consultation the businesses have been focusing on what can be done to make the town centre as attractive as possible to residents.
“The old Mothercare building had unfortunately become an eyesore and through demolition we can now create an attractive green space which connects residents to the town. The area is already brighter and more appealing and this work to be undertaken will help set the tone for future changes to the town centre in the years ahead.”