Feb 24 2012 by Lisa Boyle, Ayrshire Post (main ed)
THIS is how the beleagured pink buildings will look within two years.
Council chiefs have vowed to transform the ‘gateway to Ayr’, with work scheduled to start in the spring.
Planning permission for the ambitious venture was given the go-ahead this week.
The work, at 1-5 New Bridge Street, will include:
lRemoval of the existing paint finishing and repointing
lNew painted metal balustrade and balconettes
lreplacement skylight and stonework
lNew cast iron downpipes and gutters
lNew panelled double doors to the shop opening
lPainted metal gates at the entrance to the passageway.
This is the first phase of a multi-million pound initiative.
The £2.5 million Ayr Townscape Heritage Initiative (THI) is funded by the council and the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF).
The move has been welcomed by the community, most of all by Greig Mathieson, who owns a top floor flat at 1-5 New Bridge Street.
He said: “I’m really happy that planning permission has been granted and very excited to see how the building will look when the works are completed.
“It was the terrific character of the building that prompted me to buy my flat in the first place and it’s great that the look and feel of the outside will soon match the unique status of the building, making sure it’s eye-catching for all the right reasons.”
John Harkiss, of Harkiss Developments Ltd owns a number of commercial properties at New Bridge Street.
He said: “This is very good news for the buildings and is a definite step in the right direction to ensure there is an attractive and welcoming entrance to the town.
“I'm particularly pleased the project will see the removal of the existing paintwork and the restoration of the stonework so the building will look the way it was always intended to be.
“This is going to make a huge visual difference and help to promote the economic regeneration of the town centre.”
It’s hoped that the Ayr THI works, which are being managed by Ayr Renaissance, will also provide the opportunity to encourage traditional conservation methods and techniques, support on-the-job training and raise awareness of conservation as a potential career.
Alan Macdonald, Chair of Ayr Renaissance, added: “This is yet another important milestone in the project to transform Ayr town centre, offering more job opportunities and improvements in the local environment and enhanced facilities.
“This will help boost both the local and national economies and ensure that Ayr continues to attract employment, tourism and expenditure for the benefit of everyone in the area.”