Construction starts on new £4.2m visitor and community hub at Lochshore

Representatives from North Ayrshire Council were joined by local community partners as they heralded the beginning of construction work of the Garnock Visitor and Community Hub, which forms part of a major regeneration project at Lochshore.

Construction starts on new £4.2m visitor and community hub at Lochshore

A £4.2 million contract to build the new Hub on behalf of the council was been put in place with hub South West back in May.

Contractor CCG (Scotland) Ltd has started work began on the Collective Architecture-designed project in March this year alongside design team members including TCS Construction Consultants, David Narro Associates, Clancy Consultants and Hirst Landscape Architects.

The facility includes contributions from the Scottish Government’s Regeneration Capital Grant Fund, Nuclear Decommissioning Authority, Scottish Enterprise, Garnock Rugby Club, Sport Scotland and Land Trust.

Garnock Rugby Club is one of the local partners, supported by the Lochshore Development Group, and they will take advantage of the new facility to help encourage more people to get involved in the sport. Local sports, environmental and community groups will also have access to the facilities to support a variety of sports and events development at Lochshore.

It is expected to be ready and open in August 2022 and it is hoped that the new Visitor and Community Hub to the south of the loch will act as a facilitator of increased activity at the site.

Leisure and walking routes are planned around Kilbirnie Loch, incorporating heritage interpretation and play. While access to the site will be enhanced through new active travel routes connecting to and through the site to Kilbirnie, Beith, Garnock Community Campus and Glengarnock station. The first of which (a direct connection to Kilbirnie) will begin construction in 2021 with funding awarded by Sustrans.

Construction starts on new £4.2m visitor and community hub at Lochshore

It is hoped that around 100 jobs could be created directly and indirectly as a result of investment in the site.

Janet Dunsmore, regeneration manager for North Ayrshire Council, said: “We are delighted to have reached this milestone and it’s great to be joined by local and national partners who have all contributed so much to get us to this stage.

“This site and our ambitious plans encapsulate what we are trying to do – work with local people and other larger organisations to use our land and assets to build something substantial for the community.”

Trish Wallace, president of Garnock Rugby Club, said: “I am delighted to see the works progressing at Lochshore. Garnock Rugby Club have been working towards this for a long time and we are proud to be working with our partners to create the Hub which will provide much-needed facilities.”

Michael Ross, operations director at hub South West, the development partner of North Ayrshire Council, said: “We are delighted to see this project get underway. It will represent a fantastic community asset and benefit future generations. hub South West has been heavily involved in getting this project to its current stage and we look forward to delivering it for North Ayrshire Council, thereby adding to our strong track record as a proven development partner for the Authority.

“We have now successfully delivered over £130 million of first-class projects for the Authority, including the nearby Garnock Community Campus. We look forward to it not only providing a lasting legacy as a building but also as a significant contribution to our focus on community wealth building and the positive impact it will have on the local economy and businesses.”

Gillian Adam, head of partnerships at Scottish Enterprise, said: “The Garnock Hub will benefit the local communities and the wider Ayrshire region in a number of ways – promoting sport and active travel as a way of improving both physical and mental health, helping tackle the climate emergency through environmental groups and creating employment opportunities.

“Place is a key priority for Scottish Enterprise, as well as helping create good, green jobs. This initiative is a shining example of how we are working with partners to deliver that, and I am hugely excited to see it get underway.”

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