The team behind ambitious proposals to transform the Ayrshire economy say the last few months have marked a significant step forward in their plans.
Last week the Scottish Government confirmed an investment of £5.3 million into the HALO Regeneration Project in Kilmarnock. And that followed on from the £3.5m pledged earlier this by year the UK Government into the development in East Ayrshire.
The project is a cornerstone of the Ayrshire Growth Deal – the exciting pan-Ayrshire plans to target over £350 million of funding from the Scottish and UK governments to develop a number of projects across the region.
The Ayrshire Growth Deal team – which includes representatives from the three Ayrshire Councils, Scottish Enterprise and other partner agencies – have been working tirelessly to build a case for investment in Ayrshire.
As well as making the investment case to Ministers in Westminster and Holyrood, they have held a number of events to showcase Ayrshire and what the region has to offer.
And the investment into the HALO project has left them hugely encouraged. The £25m first phase redevelopment – which is also being backed by funding from East Ayrshire Council, the private sector and Diageo – is now ready to take shape and will include a low carbon development which will include affordable housing. It will also include an enterprise and innovation hub for business start-ups, a renewable energy centre and commercial and leisure units.
Councillor Douglas Reid Leader, East Ayrshire Council welcomed today’s announcement. He said: “This is fantastic news for Kilmarnock, East Ayrshire and the wider Ayrshire community. It represents a huge step forward for the Growth Deal as a whole as this amazing initiative will complete the regeneration of one of the biggest brown sites in Scotland to date.
“I am delighted that the Scottish Government has recognised the potential economic and community benefits the Halo project will bring to the area in terms of job creation, town centre living, increased leisure amenities and environmental improvements.
“The funding announcement by the Scottish Government, together with East Ayrshire Council’s own £2m contribution and the £3.5m announced earlier this month by the UK Government means that, staring with the £25m Phase 1, this project can become a reality.”
Councillor Joe Cullinane, Leader of North Ayrshire Council, said: “The investment for HALO is a fantastic step forward for the whole of Ayrshire. And for the Ayrshire Growth Team.
“There is no doubt that the Ayrshire Growth Deal will act as a powerful catalyst for regeneration in Ayrshire. We have developed aspirational and achievable strategic business cases that will create jobs, develop and build on Ayrshire’s key strengths and deliver economic growth that will enrich all our communities.
“We have worked hard with politicians in both the Scottish and UK Governments to make the case for Ayrshire and how our proposals will not only benefit the local economy but the Scottish and UK ones too.
“The HALO project certainly does that. By committing to this project, it also shows that there is a real genuine interest in Ayrshire and for what we are trying to do and that we can move forward with confidence that further investment, for a range of other projects across the region, will be forthcoming.
“We also believe that the AGD and its proposals for Aerospace, Life Sciences and advanced manufacturing can make a significant contribution to the delivery of the UK Government’s Industrial Strategy.”
South Ayrshire Council Leader, Councillor Douglas Campbell said: “Confirmation of the HALO project funding from both the Scottish and UK Governments shows that the ambitions we have set out within the Ayrshire Growth Deal are both aspirational and deliverable and – more importantly – will make a massive difference for the local, Scottish and UK economies. The Growth Deal is our pathway to increased inward investment, improved infrastructure, industrial change, jobs growth and a bright future for our businesses, our people and communities – and we will make that happen.
“However, we can’t do it on our own and that’s why we’re working closely with our industry, academic and public sector partners to progress this exciting programme for growth that will transform lives and create a legacy for generations to come. The fact that the HALO funding will allow work on that project to get underway just makes us even more determined to secure the necessary support for the wider Growth Deal and its many exciting projects such as Prestwick Spaceport and a National Aerospace Supply Chain Centre, also based at Prestwick.
“That’s exactly the kind of innovation and ambition we know this country needs – and we know we can deliver – and we will continue to make the case for Ayrshire and the technological, social and economic benefits our Growth Deal will bring.”
Inclusive growth – creating opportunities that can benefit all of our communities – is core to the development of the Ayrshire Growth Deal. The projects – included within the Strategic Business Case – are all expected to create jobs and have a wider positive economic impact for Ayrshire and Scotland. They also reflect the strengths and opportunities of the Ayrshire economy.
The Deal will aim to develop further and build on the success of the area’s key industries – including Aerospace and Space, Life Sciences and Manufacturing – while providing the infrastructure and support to make our businesses even more innovative and international in their outlook.
It will also seek to enhance Ayrshire’s coast and capitalise on the superb opportunities that Ayrshire’s harbours and ports provide. The proposed projects will make a major contribution to the delivery of national tourism strategies such as ‘Awakening the Giant’ (marine tourism) as well as providing opportunities to address issues such as the provision of land for the development of new housing.
Marie Macklin, of The HALO Kilmarnock, said:“I’m thrilled that both the Scottish and UK Governments are supporting The HALO Kilmarnock in this way and I hope that this is repeated across the other projects in the Ayrshire Growth Deal. We have worked hard to bring these politicians along with us and to ensure that they fully appreciate the extent of the benefits that this community-led urban regeneration project will bring, not just to Kilmarnock, but to Ayrshire as a whole and to Scotland.”