One of Scotland’s leading demolition specialists, Caskie Ltd, has been appointed to carry out the 20 week job, which will see the removal of the former Mothercare building on the corner of King Street and St Marnock Street.
The company will begin on site on 6 January, when the surrounding pavement will be closed to allow erection of scaffolding. The actual demolition will start on 11 January with painstaking manual removal of gable end, followed by mechanical demolition to the three floors.
Health and Safety considerations will mean that Ayrshire Roads Authority (ARA) will oversee a programme of partial road closures, which will be managed to minimise traffic disruption as far as possible. These will be widely advertised in local media and social media and on the East Ayrshire Council and ARA websites.
Councillor Douglas Reid, Leader of East Ayrshire Council, welcomed the news saying: “ We’re looking forward to seeing work commence on this site, which will transform the appearance of the gateway to the King Street pedestrian shopping area. The work is part of ongoing plans to regenerate this part of our town centre, in line with changing patterns of high street use. We’d rather see this area used as an eco-friendly, open air public space, which can be used and enjoyed by the community than have shop units, which are no longer fit for purpose, lying empty.
“As a council, community led regeneration is one of our driving forces, we believe that working in partnership with our communities, private sector and third sector organisations we can devise innovative and practical solutions to make the best possible use of our public spaces.
“We are already engaging the services of a landscape architect to draw up three concept designs which will incorporate ideas already brought forward by town centre stakeholders. We’ll use these as a basis for further engagement in our public consultation.
“For this project we’ll be linking with Celebrate Kilmarnock who will lead the public engagement, to make sure we gather and take into account views and suggestions from all sectors of our community. We will all also be working closely with Kilmarnock Business Association, to develop a scheme which brings maximum benefit to our traders and local businesses.
“2020 has been a tough year for us all. Starting this project so early in 2021 gives us all something to look forward to, a new beginning for our precious town centre as we all look forward to a brighter future.”
Celebrate Kilmarnock will be instrumental in drawing together the public consultation on the future of the site. Elaine Cowan, Celebrate Kilmarnock Trustee said, "Our strength has always been in our ongoing engagement with those that have an interest in our town. A thriving Kilmarnock has a fundamental impact on our collective wellbeing and successful places are where people feel empowered to take part. “We hope this project will be the first of many positive changes to the landscape and rebuilding of the prosperity of our town. Our aim is to ensure that local people are directly involved in owning, designing and shaping the future of our town. We have already provided the place-making ideas generated from our earlier public meetings to help kick-start proposals with the Council's landscape architect.
“We would warmly welcome anyone who wants to get involved in developing this project to build something special in the town - you can contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org".
“Peter Telfer, Chair of the Kilmarnock Business Association said, “We are delighted that the council are now progressing with the demolition of the old Mothercare site and we are looking forward to working with the council and the other key stakeholders within the community to develop plans for its future use. Now, more than ever, we need our community to shop local and this location is a key gateway to our town and our retailers. We need a welcoming and vibrant town centre and, the businesses already have a number of ideas as to how the space can best be used and we want to make sure that any future developments compliments the many existing assets in our Town, as well as adding new reasons for the community to come into the centre.”
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