THE vacant spot on Ayr’s Riverside is could be used partly as an open-air hub to promote arts and culture in the town.

Campaigner Gemma Jones and the Ayr Advertiser had another discussion with Council Leader Douglas Campbell and Depute Leader Brian McGinley on how to develop Ayr’s Riverside as open space, offices and a tourist attraction to show off Ayr’s heritage. 

Gemma, who moved to Ayr some years back to undertake a degree at the SRUC, and is now Vice President (Education) of the National Union of Students, had devised a design (featured previously in the Ayr Advertiser Series) incorporating a public square, gardens and a heritage centre.

She came along to the County Buildings on Thursday to show her designs in detail.

Leader of the council Douglas Campbell, said: “When you go around the Fish Cross and at the bottom of Newmarket Street there are so many empty shops.

"What we have to do is get people to come into Ayr and create excitement for them. We could have some of our staff at the bottom end of the town as well as an arts and culture section. 

“I think that is going to be our saviour. 
“We have to re-create the historic end of the town as well as the new part and build up retail confidence. You have loads of good ideas about how we need to develop.”

An idea to place shipping containers on the Riverside to allow locals to start up their own business before moving into one of the empty units on the High Street once they feel ready was also discussed.

Gemma Jones explained: “Shipping containers give people the confidence to set up their business. I am hoping something like this will bring people back into the town. 

“Having lived in Aberdeen and taken an active part in a consultation on its future, I would like to have an influence and help with the regeneration of Ayr. It is an exciting project. We need to make Ayr a people’s town and friendly. I am proud of Ayr and see potential in its future.”

Two public consultations will be held next week at Ayr Town Hall on Monday, June 18 and Wednesday, June 20 from 3.30pm until 7.30pm.
Gemma Jones and the Ayr Advertiser have been asked to attend and will be there on Monday, June 18 from 6pm to show those who are interested the designs and engage in the community consultation. 

Depute Leader Brian McGinley said: “This is about building interest and encouraging young people to have their say. We need to future proof this space and make it a place for people to go and celebrate their heritage.”

To sign our petition for a heritage centre, with a glass floor to display archaeological findings to be included in the plans, visit