Shaping North Ayrshire process
Provide safe, decent pavements, limit town center parking times and stop pulling down all the old buildings and ensure that any new builds are buildings of charecter with shop and dwelling facilities, you need both homes and shops to give a town center life
Serve a Compulsory Purchase Order on properties which have obviously been abandoned by their owners. There are numerous in Irvine, including The Forum and the abandoned pub "Ruby Tuesdays" which are complete eyesores and do nothing for the town. There is an opportunity to bring some real life to Irvine if the planners get it right.
As a newcomer to area and exploring the many public areas and walkways I was shocked at the 'ghetto' of the Forum abandoned shopping area. The goods entrance to the shopping centre is an area of concern with rubbish and abandoned garbage a fire hazard and an eyesore
Council to take responsibility for vacant and derelict buildings. If the owners then come back to reclaim they can, if they pay the costs incurred. But waiting for missing, reluctant or unknown owners will achieve nothing.
I agree entirely with your comment, NAC has to take a tougher line with property in disrepair. They have a legal department... use it
Largs has created the Open Air Saturday Market. This could be expanded to Irvine Harbourside. Give people a reason to shop locally and other businesses gain from the footfall.
Encourage small businesses to take leases over conglomerates.
Build more housing for the active elderly.
Build that feel good community experience .
The town centre first principle neglects economic and market failure of town centres that has persisted for decades. Out-of-town retail floor space has been increasing for decades, while in-town space fails. The economic fall-out from Covid-19 and the ever-increasing trend for online shopping is set to reduce retail footfall even further. Council planning is orientated in the local development plan to town centres for retail which is not a realistic prospect for many proposals. Neither is it realistic to provide housing in town centres with absent infrastructure, if it is to be done at all it requires a pragmatic approach, there is no one size fits all proposal for town centres in North Ayrshire each has differing qualities and differing needs. To encourage retail in town centres, reform at a national level is required in terms of business rates as well as prevention of land banking, but locally North Ayrshire Council could create town centre development or enterprise zones meaning the
there would be incentives for refurbishment in town centre areas such as VAT free or other tax incentives in particular encouraging social impact tax relief investment into new models of business such as co-operatives. North Ayrshire Council could also motivate regeneration of High Streets by offering incentives to local social organisations to occupy vacant shop units or convert vacant buildings to homes for a nominal pricing rather than assert unrealistic market prices. Town centres should also look to encourage lifestyle providers such as hairdressers, nail salons and fitness centres they should also be adaptable to the future offering provision to services through technology, as once there were phone boxes on our streets so should there be public Wi-Fi freely accessible to all. This also encourages local level economic development and provides foundations for local economies through small scale enterprise rather than directing large scale inward investment that fails to deliver
anything meaningful for local people who are often excluded. Providing job opportunities should be the primary motivation of town centres and this will involve loosening of the planning and licensing laws and improving of security with street lighting and CCTV coverage - all in the gift of the council. Capital spending should be focused on easily recognised improvements and invested to create community focused wellbeing economy orientated areas of developments. Many of North Ayrshire’s town centres are neglected entirely, there needs to be a focus on aesthetic improvements such as investment in public art like sculpture and murals and development of green infrastructure in town centres (trees, parks, gardens, waterways and other green spaces) as these provide numerous environmental, economic and social benefits, creating the kind of places people want to live, work, visit and invest in. The introduction of busking, performance, cultural celebrations, festivals and events can add
vitality. This will provide wider impacts of social value including the improvement to the public realm which also provides improvements in personal safety and the reduction of crime and an improved image which in turn leads to greater community confidence, a sense of pride and further investment into the wider area with increased footfall which leads to greater spend in local businesses and the local economy. Another requirement is off street parking and looking forward electric vehicle charging points which would be required if increasing the number of people living in town centres. This is essential in North Ayrshire which is predominantly rural and public transport is not reliable and not affordable for many others.
Make them more attractive places by targeting empty, dilapidated shops and gap sites. In Conservation Areas there must be enforcement of the regulations. Too often inappropriate signage, white UPVC windows, peeling paint work and general neglect are ignored.
Take over the old buildings on the Kilwinning Howgate and make them flats and housing which is much needed and the buildings are feasible for business use anymore
I would suggest pedestrianising more town centre areas, the smell of petrol and diesel fumes k https://nay.communitychoices.scot/legislation/processes/50/debate keeps me away from some town centre areas.
If we are to encourage people to live in our town centre, the condition of the town centre and the public realm will have to be improved and upgraded to support the 21st century needs of individuals and families. The current condition, ( in the Garnock Valley) is predominantly a low quality convenience shopping offer, limited parking, deteriorating physical fabric, gap sites, derelict buildings and limited access to quality greenspace - all of which when combined is not an attractive offer for house buyers.
Partnerships with community led development trusts in town centre regeneration housing projects, providing live / work housing arrangements which combine housing, production space and shop fronts could attract rental / buyers with a different perspective on town centre living. There is also a great deal of value in supporting local groups to use legislation to tack derelict sites and absent landlords.