Irvine has been named Scotland’s ‘Most Improved Place’.
The Ayrshire town was praised for the Irvine Vision, a drive by North Ayrshire Council, in partnership with the local community, to deliver a strategic approach to the town’s economic and physical development. The announcement was made at the 2017 Scottish Urban Regeneration Forum (SURF) Awards for Best Practice in Community Regeneration in Glasgow. The award recognises the dramatic, ongoing regeneration taking place in the town and the spin-off benefits it brings to local residents. Irvine beat off competition from Middlefield in Aberdeen and Shawlands in Glasgow for the title of Scotland’s Most Improved Place. Judges had previously visited Irvine where they were given a guided tour of the continuing work to regenerate the town. As part of their tour, they visited the recently-opened Fullarton Community Hub, and Quarry Road to see the location for the additional sport and leisure facilities that are under development. The judges were also told of the ongoing proposals to improve the public realm in Irvine town centre, complementing the streetscape work carried out at Bridgegate, as well as the residential developments and ambitious plans for the i3 Irvine, Innovation and Industry Park. And their visit was rounded off with a tour of the recently-opened Portal leisure centre and refurbished Townhouse. Councillor Alex Gallagher, Cabinet Member for Economy, said: “We are absolutely delighted that our transformational work which is ongoing in Irvine has been recognised at a national level. "We have taken great strides in recent years through development such as the Portal Leisure Centre and refurbished Townhouse but the award also recognises the widespread regeneration work that is happening in the town. "The Irvine Vision is about more than bricks and mortar - it's about creating a vibrant future for residents. I believe the judges were very impressed at our commitment to place our people at the heart of our vision for the town and ensure that we create a town that works for them. “This award also reflects a huge amount of hard work put in by our partners and the local community and their contribution should not be overlooked." Irvine was previously nominated for the title of Scotland’s Most Improved Large Town in 2015 but was named runner-up to Kilmarnock.