Regeneration projects included in £350m Ayrshire growth plans

Plans for the HALO Urban Park
Plans for the HALO Urban Park

Three local authorities have outlined a number of regeneration projects within ambitious proposals to transform the economic prospects for Ayrshire.

EastNorth and South Ayrshire councils yesterday put forward business cases for an ‘Ayrshire Growth Deal’ which is targeting over £350 million of funding from the Scottish and UK governments to develop a number of projects across the region.

The projects, which include plans to create a commercial, cultural, leisure and lifestyle quarter at the former Diageo bottling plant in Kilmarnock, are all expected to create jobs and have a wider positive economic impact for Ayrshire and Scotland.

Spearheaded by Kilmarnock-based developers Klin Group, the “HALO” Urban Park project will redevelop the former Johnnie Walker site at Hill Street with the potential to create around 1,000 permanent new jobs.

Other proposed projects include a bid for £53m to develop the Ardeer Peninsula and Irvine Harbourside; £22m of government funding for coastal regeneration in Ardrossan and £130m to develop manufacturing sites at Moorfield (Ayrshire Engineering Park) and the Ayrshire Manufacturing Investment Corridor (AMIC) at Bellfield.

The submission also includes over £80m of funding to develop aerospace industries in South Ayrshire; £30m being sought to further develop Life Sciences industries and £15m to develop Marine Tourism across North and South Ayrshire.

Councillors in North and East Ayrshire have approved the plans, while elected members of South Ayrshire are expected to follow suit at a meeting next week.

Councillor Joe Cullinane, leader of North Ayrshire, said: “It is fantastic that we have reached this stage and we’re excited about the proposals we are putting forward and what it would mean for Ayrshire. We have worked hard to identify projects that will benefit not only our local economies but also the wider Scottish one too.”

Councillor Bill McIntosh, leader of South Ayrshire Council, said: “Prestwick is home to one of the UK’s leading aerospace clusters and is likely to be the UK’s first operational spaceport. Investment into this sector, will bring economic growth to Ayrshire, Scotland and the UK as a whole. More broadly, Ayrshire has real engineering excellence and the Ayrshire Growth Deal will ensure we continue to compete on a global stage.”

Councillor Douglas Reid, leader of East Ayrshire Council, added: “This is a significant milestone for the Ayrshire Growth Deal. The proposals for East Ayrshire will provide the infrastructure that will serve the manufacturing and engineering sectors across Ayrshire and the regeneration projects will help to create over 1000 jobs, which will greatly boost the local economy and benefit our local communities.

“The A77 is a key investment corridor for Ayrshire and the improvement of the Bellfield Interchange is critical to the development of this corridor in order to realise the potential for jobs and manufacturing growth. It will create a regionally significant Ayrshire Manufacturing development. The Ayrshire Engineering Park at Moorfield will create serviced high quality business space.

“The HALO is an innovative development that will revitalise Kilmarnock and benefit Ayrshire and the West of Scotland. It will create space for enterprise, innovation and entrepreneurs as well as commercial offices to attract new employers to the town. It will complement and add value to the new Ayrshire College.”

The strategic business cases are due to be submitted to the Scottish and UK governments for further consideration on Tuesday.

If approved, it is envisaged that the Ayrshire Growth Deal could be implemented from mid 2017.

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