Updated plans for key sites in Kilmarnock announced
East Ayrshire Council has shared an update on plans for a number of strategic sites across Kilmarnock as part of their long term vision for the town.
In December 2022, Council approved a range of early proposals pertaining to the Galleon Centre refurbishment; the repurposing of the site of the multi-storey car park; 1 Strand/12 Dunlop Street and Kilmarnock Floral Clock as part of the Kilmarnock Strategic Vision.
Earlier this week, elected members received an update on progress of these projects, one year on.
Galleon Centre refurbishment
Councillors have reaffirmed their commitment to support leisure facilities in East Ayrshire and on 26 October 2023 they approved a programme of cross-cutting service reviews, including a review of leisure related services across East Ayrshire.
This review will also consider the options being proposed as part of the refurbishment of the Galleon Centre in Kilmarnock. A design team was commissioned and a suite of design options has been prepared to address life cycle deterioration in the building along with interventions to respond to changes in public demand and customer needs. Recommendations will be made to Councillors in due course.
Multi-storey car park
Demolition of the car park is now expected to commence in spring 2024 and a design consultant has been appointed, with detailed designs for the site expected by June 2024.
The proposals for the site, following demolition of the multi-storey car park, included the creation of an EV charging and cycling hub with improved pedestrian links to the bus station and train station.
These plans also included the redevelopment of the remaining site to create a fully serviced high quality civic space, to enable outdoor events such as markets and outdoor theatre and to include public art to display the cultural and historical interpretation of Kilmarnock.
Councillors this week also approved new proposals to re-route the Kilmarnock Infinity Loop onto Sturrock Street and to open Sturrock Street to two way traffic. Feasibility studies will be undertaken early in the New Year and design proposals are expected by June 2024.
1 Strand Street/12 Dunlop Street
The original proposals considered retaining and stabilising the façade of this historic building and creating an enclosed garden on the site. It is now proposed, subject to consents, to demolish the listed building, preserve its original footprint and replace with landscaping. Interpretation boards will be erected telling history of the site. The site has been tidied and most of the vegetation has been removed.
Councillors approved proposals in December 2022 for the removal of the Kilmarnock clock and for it to be replaced with landscaping. Following consultation with Network Rail and Scotrail it is proposed that after planning and other consent is completed work, will commence to remove the clock and tidy the site, with planting likely to be undertaken in spring 2024 when ground conditions are suitable.
Councillor Douglas Reid, Leader of East Ayrshire Council welcomed this annual update.
He said: “Our strategic vision action plan for Kilmarnock has, on the whole, seen good progress in the past year. The Kilmarnock Strategic Group is up and running, maintaining a strategic overview of these projects, ensuring that we have robust collaboration and quick decision-making in place for when we need to respond to issues arising both locally and nationally.
“We are eagerly awaiting spending guidelines from the UK Government in relation to the £20million awarded to Kilmarnock as we’re keen to get these funds out to our communities as soon as possible.
“This year we’ve seen first-hand the positive impact some of these town centre improvements have made. The new Burns mural has brightened up an often overlooked corner of the town, whilst the shop front improvements and new signage have smartened up the appearance of our shopping streets, enticing more shoppers into the town.
“The recent Christmas Festival demonstrated the positive impact events have on the local economy as visitors flocked to the shops, cafes, bars and restaurants that day, and early estimates tell us that the average spend at the event was around £29 per person, which is astounding!
“It was great to see our town centre buzzing again and the work of the Kilmarnock Strategic Group will continue to build on these recent successes in the year ahead.
“Some of the infrastructure projects have not been without their challenges, but nonetheless, progress has been steady, and I’m confident that we will see some real visible improvements in the New Year."