One fifth of all shops in Kilmarnock town centre are empty, a council report has shown.
The amount of vacant retail space has shot up from 11 per cent in 2016 to 20 per cent in June this year.
Town centre vacancy rates across the whole of East Ayrshire sit at 14 per cent according to figures presented in a report to the East Ayrshire community planning partnership board and the council.
The closures of Wilko, BHS and JH Donald and other stores have hit the main shopping strip in Kimarnock.
The town has also been a casualty of people shopping online like high streets across the country.
Gwen Barker, council policy, planning and performance manager said: “Empty town centre buildings are an issue faced on high streets throughout the UK as retail and consumer behaviour changes and trading conditions become increasingly competitive.
“In Kilmarnock we’ve already been successful in renovating some of our most precious historic buildings and bringing them back into use.”
The ‘white tile’ building is set to become home to a studio space for entrepreneurs if a grant funding bid pays off.
The Galleon is to be refurbished and a number of units in King Street demolished and turned to grass.
Success stories so far include the Ingram Enterprise Centre in the restored Victorian Ballochmyle building on John Finnie Street which is home to new businesses.
Another triumph has been the Global Market which has attracted more visitors to the town.
Celebrate Kilmarnock has been working on a community led action plan for the town and has set up a community base.
There are efforts to engage members of the community to improve the town as part of the vow to wow campaign.
Ms Barker continued: “Successful regeneration is all about people, and for this reason we’re spearheading the move towards much more community led regeneration and action. To this end we’re about to launch our ‘Vow to Wow’ campaign, urging everyone to take responsibility for and pledge to do their bit to help regenerate Kilmarnock town centre.
“Meanwhile as a council we’re also looking at what buildings we need for the future, whether some are past their useful life and should be demolished, whether they could be repurposed and whether new building may be necessary to meet future need.
“As a council, we can be a catalyst for change, enabling people and organisations, businesses and voluntary groups to bring funding bids and projects to fruition. We all have to be clever and work together to find the best possible ways to bring about the positive changes we’d all like to see.”
Vacancy rates are down in Cumnock where empty units have fallen from 30 per cent to only eight per cent.
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