Changing towns



Towns in the Irvine Bay area have benefited from improved and refurbished town centres, helping to bring jobs and economic growth to the area.

Nearly 52,000 sq m of public areas within our towns and business areas have benefited from major physical improvements. Regeneration is all about making changes that will have a lasting economic impact and we can now look back and see how the town centre improvements have made a difference.


The changes that have taken place in our town centres have acted as a catalyst for inward investment, attracting new businesses into the area.


The first town centre to receive a major overhaul was Kilwinning. The work began in 2009 and was completed in the autumn of 2010. New paving, seating, lighting and landscaping were introduced to make the Main Street a more attractive place to do business. The aims were straightforward – to  attract new business, create jobs and increase visitor numbers.

The success of project was immediate, with increased footfall and new businesses coming into the town. 

In 2011 the project won the Public Realm/Landscaping category at the prestigious UK Roses Design Awards for architects and designers, and was also named as runner-up in the Investors in Education category at the Ayrshire Business Awards.

Six years on, the refurbishment of the Main Street is still making a difference. Shona Thorne is director of Thorne Travel. She says, “"We set up Thorne Travel in Kilwinning's Main Street 7 years ago and the business has gone from strength to strength. We started with 2 full-time and 2 part-time employees and now employ 17 people, 14 of them full-time. We've moved to larger premises across the street and benefited from support from Irvine Bay to refurbish what was then a derelict building to house our growing business. The refurbishment of the Main Street came at a great time for us - people like to come down to the town and the upgrade has made a real difference to how attractive it is. Thorne Travel has a busy town centre hub but also does business with people all over the world via our website and facebook. Following the success of Thorne Travel we have been able to launch two other spin-out business, Thorne Experiences and All about the Magic."

Find out more about the redevelopment of Main Street, Kilwinning.


The largest single town centre project was the redevelopment of the Bridgegate area of Irvine. The £2.2m project was a joint venture between Irvine Bay and North Ayrshire Council. It was completed in 2013, creating much improved attractive outdoor space around the centre.

This project was also an award winner. Accolades include the BALI National Landscape Award and Town Centre Regeneration Project of the Year in the Scottish Property Awards.

Find out more about the transformation of Bridgegate.

The redevelopment of the Irvine town centre helps to support the major inward investment which is taking place at i3, over the last few years the number of companies based at i3 has double, creating significant new jobs in the area.


The Grange in Stevenston is a town centre development that has been successful since the start. The new business premises were created on the site of a former cinema in order to attract new businesses and jobs into the town.

The Grange was completed in 2011 with retail accommodation on the ground floor and office accommodation above. New jobs have been created in the town as a result.

Find out about the redevelopment of The Grange, Stevenston.


In Ardrossan the town has been improved by refurbishing a number of prominent buildings. Cecchini’s restaurant has a prominent location at the harbour, in the former pump house. Office accommodation has been created at 78 Princes Street and 93 Princes Street and retail facilities at 54 – 56 Princes Street.

The new Ardrossan Medical Centre has been developed from the former police station.

Many of these old building were in a derelict state, so their refurbishment has brought important transformation to the town.

In addition the new build office and retail accommodation at Ardrossan Quayside provides opportunities for businesses to move into the area.


In the same way, a number of different projects are helping to transform the centre of Saltcoats. The refurbishment of SaltcoatsTown Hall has created a venue for functions and now Countess Street is being refurbished to create a more attractive gateway to the town centre and modern public space around the town hall. The refurbishment of the former Station building at 2 Vernon Street was another early success, along with shopfront improvements.

Making a difference

Changes in the Irvine Bay towns have helped to support the wider regeneration of the area, encouraging businesses to consider relocating.

 In 2014 and 2015 643 new jobs were reported in the area, a significant upturn in new opportunities.  It is clear that the refurbishing of our town has helped to generate a lift in our local economy.