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Ecclesistical & Heritage World No.92

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Major Makeover For Gateway to Ayr Town Centre

A multi-million pound project to transform the historic gateway to Ayr town centre is due to get underway later this year thanks to funding from South Ayrshire Council and the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF).

The HLF monies (£1.08 million) will supplement the Council’s investment in the Ayr Townscape Heritage Initiative (Ayr THI) to provide grant funding of more than £2.5 million for the repair and refurbishment of properties within the THI area, with the priority buildings being on New Bridge Street – known locally as the ‘pink buildings’.

The project will ensure the refurbished properties present a colourful and quality gateway for people living in, working in and visiting the popular Scots town.

The Ayr THI, which will be managed by Ayr Renaissance Limited Liability Partnership (LLP) on behalf of the Council, is the latest stage in the work to regenerate Ayr town centre and ensure it is an appealing and attractive option for residents, businesses and visitors.

The THI will not only ensure the special historical and architectural character of the conservation area is properly maintained, it will also provide the opportunity to encourage traditional conservation methods and techniques, support on-the-job training and raise awareness of conservation as a potential career.
The announcement of the HLF funding follows the much-anticipated facelift for properties in Ayr’s Sandgate, High Street and Newmarket Street under the Ayr Renaissance project, which has delivered visible improvements to this part of town. This transformation is making a real difference and will continue as the project moves forward.

The Ayr Renaissance project is designed to rejuvenate Ayr town centre over the next 20 years, with a focus on improving the arrival ‘hubs’ of the town, improving connections within the town and developing quality residential, retail and commercial accommodation.

Three vacant retail premises are also being refurbished and offered to let in a bid to encourage trade and business in this part of the town. Through both projects, the Council is exploring opportunities to use the recent Future Jobs funding to provide jobs for those who are unemployed.

South Ayrshire Council’s Portfolio Holder for Sustainability and the Environment, Councillor Peter Convery, said: “Ayr THI is really exciting news for the town and I am delighted the Heritage Lottery Fund is providing such a significant sum of money to make our dreams a reality in this part of South Ayrshire.

“Ayr is a fantastic town with lots of potential and we want to ensure that we not only get it back to its former glory days, but surpass everything it was before. We want our town to attract people of all ages for short visits, days out, holidays and lifetimes and I have no doubt this project will go a long way to helping achieve that.

“It will also provide an ideal opportunity to embed the importance of the town’s heritage in our training and education initiatives and ensure everyone involved in the project understands the skills required in heritage-led design and construction work, which is a key element of the project."