The “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 and to donate the 23 acres of land, subject to the project meeting certain economic and community benefit goals and securing financial backing from central government.
Today, East Ayrshire Council also approved £2m of support for the project.
Klin Group, who were the original visionaries for the Hill Street site and who secured an option to develop the site from Diageo, said the imaginative, brown field regeneration scheme is set to revitalise Kilmarnock and boost the wider economy of Ayrshire.
Plans for the Urban Park proposal that will create a commercial, cultural, leisure and lifestyle quarter for Kilmarnock include:
- A Resilience Capability Business Centre for digital and online resilience businesses in research, development and application, locating innovators in financial services, private investors, insurance and technology companies
- An enterprise, engineering, manufacturing and textiles centre for small and medium sized businesses
- 1,000 capacity education, conference and exhibition centre (benefiting local schools, colleges and universities)
- A cultural hub for small creative businesses and social enterprises in crafts, film, art, music, media, literature, marketing and technology
- A year-round leisure and water sports facility
- 3,000m2 of commercial offices
- Health & wellbeing premises, life-style shops and cafes
- Landscaped public plaza
- 175 affordable rented houses
- An energy centre powering a district heating system
- Public space including new road and footpath networks connecting to the Rail Station and town centre.
Capitalising on the site’s rail and motorway links, the HALO proposal will be a phased development that will create around 1,000 sustainable jobs and complement the adjoining newly built Ayrshire College.
The local authority will now seek a further £10m 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, alongside North and South Ayrshire Councils, for funding totalling £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 at 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 the site previously occupied by the Johnnie Walker bottling plant.”