Elected members have unanimously agreed to the demolition of the iconic multi-storey car park in Kilmarnock town centre.
The decision was taken at East Ayrshire Council’s cabinet meeting earlier this week and is based predominantly on health and safety recommendations, taking account of the deterioration of the building, the low occupancy levels in recent months and the considerable costs required to restore it to an acceptable and safe standard.
In January 2020, Cabinet had previously agreed to allocate £3.165m for the repair and improvement of the car park. However, more recently, further investigatory works have revealed that the general condition of the building is much worse than previously anticipated and that any interventions would only extend the usability of the building for up to 5 years.
The demolition, which members agreed should happen ‘as soon as is practicable’ will open up a highly attractive site in the heart of Kilmarnock, presenting a blank canvas for future town centre regeneration opportunities.
Councillor Douglas Reid, Leader of East Ayrshire Council, welcomed the decision. He said: “This is the right decision – health and safety is of paramount importance and we’ve responded promptly to concerns raised by local businesses and to the findings in the new structure reports.
“This opens up new opportunities for the continued regeneration of our town centre. We are investing in sites all across the town, including St Marnock’s Square and the Cultural Quarter, including Centrestage, the Palace Theatre, Grand Hall and Dick Institute, and now, only a stone’s throw away, we will have one of our prime sites available for redevelopment.
“As ever, we will engage with our communities, including our partners Celebrate Kilmarnock, to scope out options for this site and we can look forward to receiving proposals at a Cabinet meeting in the not too distant future.
“The money saved by opting for demolition will be reinvested into the £50m pot earmarked for wider town centre regeneration projects including a multi-million pound leisure and wellbeing hub in the heart of our communities.”
As part of this proposal members also agreed to the construction of new car parks on land acquired at Grange Street, Sturrock Street and London Road, to remedy the loss of spaces within the multi storey. The cost of creating these new facilities is included within the £2.544m earmarked as part of the demolition costs.
The full report is available on the Council’s website.