Vision of Kilmarnock’s future unleashed as radical proposals unveiled for town


A radical vision for Kilmarnock’s future has been unveiled in a video proposing how the town center could look.

A modern take on the The Palace Theatre, Grand Hall and Dick Institute was laid out in a new teaser video showing how a multi-million pound transformation of the town’s cultural quarter could look.

A much-needed revamp of the Palace Theater — the town’s cultural gem — is the focal point of the makeover with the roof, drainage and frontage in need of a major overhaul to secure the historic building’s future.

Janice Gilmour, community and performing arts development manager for East Ayrshire Leisure said highlighted concerns about the lack of accessibility to the iconic building.

Drawings showed and enlarged multi-function hall and bar (the room opposite the Grand Hall)

A modern glass frontage curves round the proposed new look building and a roof terrace sits atop the new entrance.

Perhaps the most intriguing plan shown in the video was a new riverside walkway in which a new path hugs the rear of the venue from London Road before cutting across the river to dead space behind Sturrock Street behind the Salvation Army.

On the other side of the water, what looks like an amphitheater

An artist’s impression shows what looks like an amphitheater on the other side of the Kilmarnock Water, adjacent to the new walkway, with punters watching a video being screened on to the back of the Palace Theatre/Grand Hall building.

In 2019, a report taken to councilors stated a phased approach to repair and maintenance would cost up to £8 million.

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An East Ayrshire Council cabinet meeting heard cash has been poured into the building over the years but better work is still needed.

Problems include water penetrating the historic building and a new drainage system is to be installed.

Politicians were told the size of the downpipes cannot cope with levels of water and marble at the base of the iconic structure is adding to problems.

Now East Ayrshire Council and East Ayrshire Leisure Trust are putting the design proposals to the public.



The amphitheater at the rear of the Palace Theater and Grand Hall

A survey is now live for residents to give their feedback on the blueprints.

A survey preamble reads: “East Ayrshire Council in partnership with East Ayrshire Leisure Trust has been developing design proposals for ‘Cultural Kilmarnock.’

“Cultural Kilmarnock has been identified as an area to the east of the town center that includes culturally significant buildings like The Palace Theater & Grand Hall and The Dick Institute.

“The vision for Cultural Kilmarnock is to create an enduring and vibrant area of ​​cultural significance.

“The emerging design proposals aim to improve pedestrian connections between the cultural venues and town centers through the linking of green spaces and improvements to the public realm.

“Improvements to the soft and hard landscaping, lighting, signage and wayfinding aim to enhance the setting, connection and offering of the cultural venues.

“At the heart of the vision and emerging design proposals for Cultural Kilmarnock are improvements to the public realm, accessibility, visibility and offering of The Palace Theater & Grand Hall.”

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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