Maybole Regeneration project.

The news that Maybole town centre is to receive £7.5 million in regeneration cash and support from South Ayrshire Council, Historic Environment Scotland and the Heritage Lottery Fund has been warmly welcomed within the community. The investment also coincides with the long-awaited opening of the A77 town bypass in 2021 and removal of heavy traffic from the historic High Street.

Amy Eastwood, Head of Grants at Historic Environment Scotland said; “We are delighted to support the Maybole Regeneration project with £1,289, 607 funding as part of our Conservation Area Regeneration Scheme (CARS). We are excited to see the benefits that this project will bring to the historic town, local community and beyond, and we encourage shop and building owners to visit the website and find out more about what support is available to them through the project.”

The making of a successful High Street.

As Maybole now has the funds and opportunity to create a new identity for itself, the community and project management team have been keen to listen to voices within the local community and to learn lessons from similar community projects elsewhere.

South Ayrshire Council is working in partnership with Maybole Community Council and a range of other organisations to develop a vision for the town; one which extends well beyond the renovation of buildings.

Councillor Brian McGinley, Economy and Culture Portfolio Holder for South Ayrshire Council said: “Our town centres are no longer just about shopping, they need to offer a mix of entertainment venues, visitor attractions, places to eat and shops. I have no doubt we can get the mix right and ensure that Maybole continues to flourish, but it will take time and it will require solid partnership working.”

Mark Fletcher, Chair of Maybole Community Council agreed, saying, “There are many different aspects to regeneration but one of the most important ones is increasing the ambition and hunger for change within the community.  

This might manifest itself in taking the personal initiative to start a Farmer’s Market or a Christmas Fayre, or it takes a group of like-minded growers to start a community vegetable garden.”

Val Russell, CEO of Ayrshire Chamber of Commerce says, “The success of any regeneration project is involvement at grass roots level – led by the community and local businesses, with support from the public sector.  It has to take into account the views of the whole community with recognisance of age, equality and needs.

Welcome as it is, it’s not enough for a community to be the recipient of funding support for the cosmetic items of regeneration. Whilst these are important, they are not what leads to long term job creation or sustainability of town centres. It’s the support and appreciation of everyone in the area that makes a strong community and town”

Experienced retail consultant Bob Baldry stresses, “It’s the mix of shops that draws people in. That, and a good shopper-experience, with excellent way-finding signage and amenities like cafés and open spaces, providing opportunities to browse and buy as a leisure activity.

The mix must be appropriate to the demographics and ambitions of the area and it’s important for the town centre to have an over-arching “brand” feel to it. Maybole has a fascinating history and much to recommend it. It now has the chance now to build a “new” identity for the 21st Century.”

The Maybole Regeneration Project is four-year regeneration project investing up to £7.5 million in the town centre so it becomes an even better place to live, work and visit for residents, businesses and visitors to Carrick’s ancient Capital.

Included in the Maybole Regeneration Project are:

  • Improving Shopfronts by working with shop owners and providing grants to owners to undertake improvement works.
  • Restoration of important buildings to conserve and protect for current and future generations, including the Speakers, the Town Hall and the Castle.
  • Exterior conservation and restoration works of residential properties within the designated area.
  • Developing and improving walking and cycling routes into the town centre and to the new school campus.
  • Transforming the High Street to become a better place to visit, shop and linger, especially once the bulk of heavy traffic is removed by the Bypass.
  • Creating opportunities in employment and training by ensuring residents in and around Maybole benefit from learning, apprenticeships and volunteering opportunities.