The first town centre summit was hosted at Ayr Town Hall this week by Councillor Bill McIntosh Leader of South Ayrshire Council.
The summit brought together representatives from town centres across South Ayrshire to discuss how they could be developed in the future.
Councillor McIntosh said: “My thanks to everyone who took the time to come along and participate in this important event. All town centres − in South Ayrshire and nationally − are facing challenging times, be it from the economic conditions we find ourselves in or the increasing popularity of on-line retailing.
“A vibrant town centre is at the heart of a healthy successful community and our towns need to adapt and change so that they remain places where people want to spend time. They will remain retail centres but they must provide a much richer mix of activities to thrive and compete against our larger neighbours at the other end of the M77.
“Each of our towns will progress in a different way, but they all have one thing in common, to flourish in the future businesses, the local community and the public sector must work in partnership. Together, if we can identify what requires to be done and agree how to do it, we will be moving in the right direction.
“The town centres summit was the first step in this process, and moving forward all of our towns have different strengths which we need to play to, to ensure they continue to evolve and are places where people want to be.”
Malcolm Fraser, the leading architect, who has recently been appointed as Chair of the Scottish Governments, National Review of Town Centres was at the meeting, he said: “I was delighted to give my views on the way in which town centres in South Ayrshire could develop in the future.
“I was very impressed that so many people across South Ayrshire are keen to work with its Council to attract more people, improve the environment and the range of local shops and generally help ensure your towns are vibrant places.”
During the meeting the participants looked at many aspects of our towns including: What are the strengths of each town and how should they be built on to attract more people; What sort of quality is each environment, the range of local shops and the convenience of each town centre? What is holding towns back and making them less attractive to customers. Do the transport links need improving? Is there a lack of choice for residents and visitors?
Councillor Bill McIntosh added: “The meeting, the first of many, was very constructive and the enthusiasm from communities across South Ayrshire was outstanding.
“Together we will identify what needs to be done, how we can change things and who are the best placed people to carry this forward.”