Girvan town centre comes under fire from businesses- but shoppers and residents are happy

A survey has shown that Girvan businesses are largely negative towards the state of the town centre.

There was better feedback though from the council in terms of the residents and shoppers they surveyed during a spell in August.

The Gazette attended a meeting on Thursday night where Jane Cameron, from Cameron Research, delivered her findings.

The five major towns in South Ayrshire were surveyed in order to find out what is going right in the town centres of Ayr, Prestwick, Girvan, Maybole and Troon and what can be done to improve them.

The shock findings revealed only 22% of the 35 businesses surveyed in Girvan find it a good place to do business with one in six describing it as very poor and a further 28% describing it as poor.

And business owners also had strong criticism for the parking arrangements in the town with 59% of them saying time restrictions were a problem and 57% said there is a lack of available car parking in the town.

Over seven in ten businesses also said there are too many charity shops in the town.

However, there was better news for the council thanks to the residents and shoppers that they surveyed.

During August, researchers conducted short interviews with 100 shoppers in the town and in a positive boost for the town, they found that 30% of them had come to the seaside resort as day trippers.

Girvan had managed to retain a secure shopping base with 92% of shoppers saying they were using the town centre as much as last year, though it was pointed out that the town should look to increase from 3%, the number using the town centre more on a year-to-year basis.

The survey revealed highly favourable responses among shoppers in relation to the cafes and restaurants in the town with 86% giving a thumbs up to them whilst 81% of people surveyed said Girvan is a safe and secure town and in a different attitude to that of the businesses there was a positive response from shoppers in terms of parking in the town.

The only down side in relation to the shoppers that were surveyed was that 14% highlighted concerns over traffic congestion in the town though this paled in comparison to one of the findings in Maybole, where 90% of those surveyed highlighted traffic congestion.

The survey also asked the shoppers what would make them use Girvan town centre on a more frequent basis with 59% of respondents saying less empty shops and 40% wishing for more ‘large chain’ stores. Almost a quarter of those surveyed were keen to see some form of street market in Girvan.

In terms of the 78 households that were surveyed, there were again positive results in terms of usage with 94% of residents using the town centre as much as they did last year.

And they were also spending over two hours in the town and spending a significantly high £57.37 on average whilst shopping. Residents also had positive words for the council with 96% of them liking the library and council services in the town and 94% being impressed with the street cleaning.

There were some negative comments though with 39% of respondents highlighting the number and condition of public toilets and like the other groups who were surveyed, the issue of empty shops was also raised with 68% saying the town would be better without as many public toilets.

A fairly positive response was given out in Girvan and it was noted that since the survey was carried out in August, there have been several improvements in Girvan with the near completion of the shop front improvement painting scheme, the visual merchandising pilot scheme for certain businesses in the town and the opening up of a few new places to eat in Girvan as well. The meeting ended with those in attendance remaining positive that with the improvements at the harbourside to come early next year as well as the progress on the pool,