KMA has been appointed to lead the place momentum consortium in preparing an Integrated Urban Development Plan for the Ayrshire town of Kilmarnock. For decades now Kilmarnock has been losing once important industrial activity, with the next major closure due to be Diageo (and the world renowned brand of Johnnie Walker) in 2012.
The challenge for Kilmarnock lies not only in its post industrial economic readjustment, but also in the effect of recent motorway improvements that make it, for some, a lower cost commuter suburb of Glasgow; this external pull is exacerbated by the large out of town malls of Silverburn and Braehead, which affect Kilmarnock’s town centre.
There is enormous pride in local people and untapped potential from local business, and part of our early challenge has been to get to grips with the local assets, such as a Castle few outsiders appreciate exists, and hidden potential, like the river that runs through the town centre.
As the plan evolves, there will surely be a role for the Kilmarnock College, a key drawer of young people into the town, and some rethinking of public space and the traffic system. The ideas from local people so far, many of them youngsters, have been imaginative, but also pretty honest and realistic. That has been a positive start so far.