East Ayrshire council backs plans for Kilmarnock site

East Ayrshire council backs plans for Kilmarnock site

A landmark regeneration plan that could create around 1,000 permanent new jobs on the site of the former Diageo bottling plant in Kilmarnock was today given the backing of East Ayrshire Council’s Cabinet.

The proposal is for an Urban Park that will create a commercial, cultural, leisure and lifestyle quarter for Kilmarnock. 

Plans include a Resilience Capability Business Centre for digital and online resilience businesses in research, development and application, an enterprise, engineering, manufacturing and textiles centre and a cultural hub for small creative businesses and social enterprises in crafts, film, art, music, media, literature, marketing and technology.

The ambitious HALO Urban Park project, spearheaded by Kilmarnock-based developers Klin Group, will be mainly funded by the private sector but has already secured financial backing from the site’s owners, Diageo, who have pledged £2m to support the proposed regeneration. Today, East Ayrshire Council’s Cabinet also approved £2m of support for the project.

East Ayrshire Council now seeks a further £10m of financial support for the scheme from the Scottish and UK Governments through the Ayrshire Growth Deal. The HALO project is one of a number of economic regeneration projects the Council is putting forward for funding totaling £359m through the Ayrshire Growth Deal.

Marie Macklin, chair of Klin Group, said: "Kilmarnock deserves the very best for this iconic site and that is what we are setting out to deliver. We listened carefully to what the people of the town had to say and the HALO Project will provide a fitting and sustainable legacy for the Hill Street site that will last for generations of Kilmarnock residents to come."

David Cutter, president of Global Supply & Procurement, Diageo plc said: "We are delighted to partner with East Ayrshire Council to support this regeneration proposal for Kilmarnock. Our ambition has always been to see this site redeveloped to the benefit of the local economy and community.

"Alongside the new college campus which is due to open soon at the site, we believe this regeneration plan will create a positive legacy for Kilmarnock and we hope it will gain the necessary support from the Ayrshire Growth Deal to make it a reality."

Douglas Reid, Leader of East Ayrshire Council, said: "These proposals are a key element of East Ayrshire Council’s ambitions for the Ayrshire Growth Deal and will greatly contribute to the regeneration of Kilmarnock, breathing new life into the remainder of site previously occupied by the Johnnie Walker bottling plant.

Today’s news represents a major step forward for the project’s champions, Kilmarnock-based Klin Group, who were the original visionaries for the Hill Street site and who secured an option to develop the site from Diageo.


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