East Ayrshire embraces Scotland’s Towns Week 2019

East Ayrshire Council is celebrating Scotland’s Towns Week with a round up of exciting projects and the launch of Kilmarnock’s new Vow to Wow initiative, getting local people and businesses to pledge to help make a difference to their town centre.

In Darvel, work is progressing on a new piece of community led regeneration, using £200k of the Council’s allocation from a £1.7m Town Centre Regeneration Fund. Using the money, Darvel Community Council is overseeing the demolition of the long derelict former Darvel Co-op building and the creation of a community garden and covered market space in its place.

Meanwhile Galston,  another recipient of Conservation Area Regeneration Scheme funding has now notched up 7 major restoration projects, including 2 rescued from the buildings at risk register, 8 businesses set up, the creation of 13 new jobs and bringing 743 sq  of vacant floor space back into use.

Cumnock Town Centre has seen many changes over the past few years, with the building of the multipurpose Rothesay House, which contains a library, wedding suite and local council offices. Nearly 20 historic buildings have had major overhauls using traditional methods and materials thanks to a multi million pound Conservation Area Regeneration Scheme joint funded by the council, Historic Environment Scotland and building owners themselves. But perhaps the  most dramatic difference to the landscape has been the demolition and redevelopment of the former Glaisnock Shopping Centre.

In its place now stands a row of seven new shop units fronting onto Townhead Street, an extended car park and a 930 sqm Farmfoods store with five adjacent commercial units for rent. These have all been built using guidelines drawn up by the Prince’s Foundation for the Built Environment, in consultation with the local community and using a style which blends in with the existing architectural style of the town.

Mauchline is the latest beneficiary of CARS Funding. An ambitious new scheme has just been launched which will target 6 priority buildings and provide smaller grants to owners of shops and private houses within the conservation area to enable them to carry out uneconomic but vital fabric repairs.  The shopfront grants will restore buildings to their original historic designs, giving a more authentic historic look to the town.

An artist and a writer in residence will run art  and literature workshops and work with the local school on  education projects.  Skilled trades workshops for existing and new entrants to the construction industry will encourage people to  further and take up new careers in traditional crafts such as stonemasonry and lime plastering, all very much needed skills as more and more old buildings are renovated.

Local tourism too will benefit from  the CARS projects. Read more about Mauchline CARS

Celebrating  Scotland’s Towns Week 2019 is a good way for us to look at just how far we’ve come, but we recognise there is much more to do, which is why we’re constantly working with our local communities,local and national partners to seek ideas, funding and resources to make all our town centres exciting, prosperous and attractive places to live, work, visit and shop.