Plans to regenerate historic industrial sites move forward
Plans to breathe new life into two former industrial landmarks in the Garnock Valley have taken a significant step forward.
(Image - Google Maps)
North Ayrshire Council is working with key partners to kickstart the regeneration of the former Glengarnock Steelworks at Lochshore as well as Stoneyholm Mill in Kilbirnie.
Now funding has been secured which will allow a full-time project officer to be employed with a view to progressing both projects.
North Ayrshire Council’s cabinet this week accepted an Ayrshire LEADER grant award which offers funding for rural projects with a wide community benefit. Additional support from Scottish Enterprise means that the officer can be appointed for two years.
The site at Lochshore was formerly home to Glengarnock Steelworks which closed in the mid-1980s and is now largely a brownfield site of approximately 150 hectares.
The site was previously earmarked for a major housing development but changing market conditions mean a new direction is required.
The long-term ambition for the site includes a mix of residential properties, employment, leisure and open space or country park uses that are easily accessible to communities across the Garnock Valley and beyond.
The site also has a wealth of natural assets including Kilbirnie Loch which is actively used by local sports clubs.
Meanwhile, it is also hoped to progress plans for Stoneyholm Mill, Kilbirnie. The 19th century Category B-listed mill - a key part of the town’s industrial history - is a prominent feature in Kilbirnie but now stands largely vacant.
Potential uses include a mix of residential, office, workshop and community use, all of which would contribute to the vitality of Kilbirnie town centre. It is expected that any regeneration of the mill would require external grant funding.
Councillor Alex Gallagher, Cabinet Member for Economy at North Ayrshire Council, welcomed the funding.
He said: “This is great news for the Garnock Valley. It means we can now find a way in which we can bring these two locations back into use.
“The former steelworks site and mill are a reminder of the rich industry and heritage in the Garnock Valley and it would be tremendous to see a new beginning for both of them.
“We are still at the very early stages of the process but it’s a significant step in the right direction. Both locations have the potential to provide a significant economic boost to the area if we can find the right way forward, balancing any potential development with the needs of the local community.”
Once appointed, it is expected that the dedicated Project Officer will allow a focussed approach to develop a feasibility study, outline business case and costed delivery strategy for the site.