The Kirkintilloch Masterplan was approved by the Council on 3 December 2013. A link to the approved Masterplan can be found here. The Masterplan includes a number of developments and ideas to regenerate the area.
Work has already begun on renovating Kirkintilloch Town Hall, a landmark building derelict for more than nine years. The 108-year-old building and new extension will be turned into a centre for arts, culture and community.of a new extension.
The £1.57million of external funds previously secured has been boosted by a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) of £41,500. There is also the potential to secure further funds from the group for the second stage of the plans, a total grant of £594,100.
To Whom It May Concern:
Please treat this email as my submission to the Kirkintilloch masterplan consultation.
Kirkintilloch town centre is obviously of great interest and concern to my constituents living in Kirkintilloch, and also to those living elsewhere in East Dunbartonshire. It is clear that there is a desire for change in Kirkintilloch and I very much welcome the masterplan and its vision for an improved town centre we can all be proud of – a town centre reflecting Kirkintilloch’s cultural, historical and strategic significance.
Last autumn, I asked constituents to provide me with their opinions on Kirkintilloch town centre and what needs to be improved. My survey found that over 75% of respondents felt that Kirkintilloch town centre is currently poor or very poor. Reasons given for this included too many low-quality shops, a lack of parking, a lack of energy or ‘buzz’ and too many eyesores.
It is clear that better links are needed to create more integration between Cowgate, Townhead and other areas, particularly towards the canal. Kirkintilloch is, after all, the canal capital of Scotland and that should be reflected. There is certainly a degree of isolation in the town centre which is reinforced by the reduction in footfall. Better integration may also address the often problematic antisocial behaviour situation at night after the pubs and clubs close.
Kirkintilloch needs more communal outdoor spaces and more quality shops, restaurants and cafes to attract people into the town centre in the evenings and weekends. One barrier to improvement would appear to be the relatively high business rates which hamper current businesses and deter others from coming to Kirkintilloch.
The town centre also needs to be more accessible to pedestrians and cyclists, and have improved parking provision. Currently, people are put off by poor access and this must be causing significant harm to the town centre. Walkers are Welcome and other initiatives do their best to attract people to Kirkintilloch but their efforts are hampered by these problems.
I therefore fully support the Council’s proposals to create a clearer, simplified streetscape with enhanced parking provision and more community space. I welcome plans to better integrate the town centre with other areas of Kirkintilloch and would urge the Council to take further steps, particularly in the short term, to deal with the barriers to retail development. I also agree with proposals to create a cultural or theatrical venue, which can provide a centre point to the town centre.
Jo Swinson MP
East Dunbartonshire Council will run a consultation on the draft Kirkintilloch Masterplan from 10 June 2013 to 31 August 2013. http://bit.ly/KKconsultation
East Dunbartonshire Council has drawn up a draft master plan that can be found here http://bit.ly/KKmasterplan . It will go before councillors in May for approval to consult further with area residents. The Council has committed £3million to the master plan which centres on a rejuvenated town hall and improved access and parking. Read more here
Over half of those who answered (52%) felt that the town centre was poor, with another 24% feeling it was ‘very poor’. 21% felt it was acceptable. Only 3% felt it was good or very good. A very sad state of affairs! Overwhelmingly, respondents felt that there was a lack of decent shops and entertainment facilities – 83% noted this as a concern. Numerous people felt that there were too many empty shops. A lot of people mentioned that the area was generally just very ‘run down’, with one resident noting that “it is just a big car park”.
Lairdsland Primary School
I asked about plans to turn the current Lairdsland Primary School site into housing. 64% felt this was a good idea, and 18% felt not. A lot of those who did not support it felt that the area should be landscaped and turned into a community space. It should be noted, however, that the school is a listed building and so it is unlikely that it would be knocked down.
A third of people who took part in the survey had been to the new community hub in the library. Of those, the majority – 58% – did not feel it was successful. A number of those people felt that the library facilities had been reduced as a result of the changes. One of the most frequent comments was that the new requirement to walk through the café to get to the library was inconvenient.
As you may be aware, the Council are hoping to restore the town hall and turn it into an arts venue. Unsurprisingly, the majority of respondents – some 74% – felt this was a good idea. Ideas for the space included a rehearsal space, theatre and concert space.
There are certainly lots of interesting ideas for the future of Kirkintilloch. It seems that there is a huge appetite for change in the area, and I hope that the Council’s masterplan will address this. I will certainly be passing on the results of my survey to the Council to consider.