Ayrshire's three local authorities have appointed Patrick Wiggins, Chief Executive of Irvine Bay Regeneration Company, to head up an exciting joint bid to boost the local economy.
All the authorities agree that an integrated approach to promoting the economy will help create a thriving and competitive Ayrshire economy where people, communities and businesses prosper and succeed.
Patrick will spend six months on secondment driving forward a joint Regional Growth Deal Bid to both the Scottish and UK Governments.
The bid will form the basis of a long-term economic and investment strategy to transform both public and private sector efforts to regenerate the region. It plans to establish a comprehensive and co-ordinated approach to tackling barriers to economic growth such as long-term unemployment, levels of inward investment, business growth rates and falling and ageing populations.
It will capitalise on Ayrshire's many economic assets and strengths, such as the availability and location of potential investment sites; the area's strong heritage and sense of identity; the many coastal/maritime features and assets; and sector-leading industries such as aerospace, engineering, food and drink, life sciences and tourism.
The leaders of the three Ayrshire Councils have welcomed Patrick's appointment. Councillor Douglas Reid, Leader of East Ayrshire Council said: "We're delighted to be moving forward with this bid and Patrick's successful track record, knowledge of Ayrshire and regeneration expertise will be invaluable to all our plans for future success."
Councillor Willie Gibson, Leader of North Ayrshire Council, commented: "This is excellent news for Ayrshire. Patrick's proven track record coupled with his extensive knowledge of the economic landscape will be vital for securing our long term ambitions.
"We recognise that by working with Government and our local partners to negotiate a deal for Ayrshire, we have the opportunity to put our region on a national platform where we can boost the Ayrshire economy to grow and thrive and create sustainable jobs for future generations."
Councillor Bill McIntosh, Leader of South Ayrshire Council, said: "We need the right skills, expertise and attitude to drive this important piece of work forward and Patrick is the ideal person to lead things on the ground. This is the start of an exciting and innovative journey to make a difference for our people and communities and I welcome Patrick on board."
Mr Wiggins said: "It is an enormously exciting project, which shows great vision on the part of the local authorities in taking this integrated approach. I firmly believe that this partnership, which will also take in the private and third sectors, is the right one to engage with the whole community of Ayrshire and find the best possible route to long term economic growth".