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Mauchline CARS bid gets Cabinet go ahead

Mauchline’s historic buildings could be the next in line for a  Conservation Area Regeneration Scheme (CARS) revamp if East Ayrshire Council’s latest plans come to fruition.

At Cabinet last week, Councillors agreed a recommendation that the council’s Regeneration Team should submit a bid for funding from Historic Environment Scotland to support a cohesive heritage-focused, community based economic growth project that will enable the sympathetic restoration of many of the town’s most precious buildings.

With a strong track record of winning funding from the CARS fund, the team has already produced successful bids for Kilmarnock, Cumnock and Galston Town Centres, which have resulted in millions of pounds being spent to assist building owners to restore their buildings, improving the built landscape and helping businesses and residents to prosper.

Councillor Jim Roberts welcomed the news: “While there is no guarantee that the bid for funds for Mauchline will succeed, the CARS team have been working hard to look at which of our communities is most likely to secure funding in this year’s bidding round. Having engaged with owners of properties, community leaders and in particular Mauchline Community Action Group and Mauchline Burns Club, they  were impressed with the enthusiasm of all concerned and are confident that it would be money well spent.

Mauchline is an historic gem in East Ayrshire, with its Burns connections and proximity to Ballochmyle, where much of the sandstone used throughout the area was quarried. It seems a natural fit to make sure we do our best to conserve and enhance the beautiful old buildings which make up a significant part of the town. We only need to look at the truly transformational effect which CARS funding has had on Galston Town Centre, Cumnock and Kilmarnock to see what an injection of funds can do.

Of course none of this is possible without commitment of building owners, who have to put up a percentage of the funds to do vital conservation and repair works such as roofs, masonry walls, rainwater goods, and shopfront improvements and other renovations covered by the scheme. But we’ve shown how this can make all the difference, bringing previously unused buildings back into useful life, improving company and homeowners’ maintenance regimes, sustaining and creating jobs for local builders and craftspeople, and above all making sure that future generations can continue to enjoy the magnificent architecture which surrounds us all.

It would be lovely to think that we could roll out CARS schemes to all our communities as time goes on, but we can only sensibly bid for one per funding round. Mauchline is currently the best candidate and we’re very hopeful. But we’re confident that this won’t be the last place we tackle. In the meantime we’re proceeding with Placemaking exercises throughout East Ayrshire and these will all help identify priorities and strengthen our case for future bids.”

The Council’s Regeneration Team will submit their bid for CARS funding for Mauchline by 15 November 2018 and a decision will be made by Historic Environment Scotland in March 2019.

Read the report here: