New events space planned for Ayr's Riverside Site
South Ayrshire Council has developed an action plan to drive forward the transformation of Ayr Town Centre.
Initially the plan will help the Council and partners to develop and then deliver three key projects – an events space at the riverside, a new leisure centre in the high street and improvements to the town centre's public realm.
The plan reflects the views of the 2,700 people who completed a survey as part of the 'Ayr Your Views' consultation late last year.
Turning the riverside site into an exciting space for events, pop-up markets, exhibitions and performances proved popular in the survey, with 62% of those taking part supporting the idea. The next steps will be to appoint a design team who will progress plans before further public consultation and then redevelopment of the site.
Plans to build a new leisure centre in the town centre will also be progressed. The Arran Mall is the preferred location for the development with opportunity to link up with a leisure development at the Kyle Centre featuring a cinema, and other recreational facilities. Bringing a leisure facility into the centre of Ayr would address issues expressed during the consultation where people said the Citadel leisure centre is too remote and not easy to access, especially for younger people.
The third project to be advanced at this stage is to improve the Public Realm in Ayr with better pedestrian and cycle links in the town. The Council has submitted a bid for part funding to sustainable transport experts Sustrans. This project aims to dramatically improve the main entrances to Ayr at Sandgate and High St, providing high quality public realm improvements. This will include upgrading street and footpath surfaces and adding street furniture, lighting, cycle facilities and signage to substantially improve the look of the area together with travel improvements more generally.
All three projects will be the subject of further public consultation as the schemes are developed.
Donald Gillies, Director – Place at South Ayrshire Council, said: "Retail in Ayr is struggling in common with most towns in Scotland. We need to look to other initiatives to reinvigorate the high street and are focusing on culture, heritage, leisure and recreation to encourage people back into the heart of Ayr Town Centre.
"I believe that modern leisure facilities in the high street, regular live events and attractive places to socialise and relax will help sustain a thriving town centre for years to come."
"These projects combined with work already taking place at the new Ayr Grammar which will include an archive centre and community arts facility, and the former Clydesdale Bank which is being turned into a market and events space, means it's an exciting time to be involved in the transformation of the high street.
"It's important that we continue to listen to the public and be responsive to their views, so as well as ongoing consultation on a project by project basis, we will be setting up a sounding board with local businesses and independent experts to help steer the projects.
"The action plan gives us a strong base on which to build and it's important we now develop these projects and deliver them as quickly as possible."
The action plan can be found at www.south-ayrshire.gov.uk/ayr-your-views