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07/11/2019

£8m Preservation Works Announced For Kilmarnock Landmark

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One of most iconic cultural landmarks in Kilmarnock is set to undergo a programme of preservation works.

East Ayrshire Council confirmed work in the region of £6-8 million will take place at the Grand Hall and Palace Theatre Complex to preserve the building and address the drainage issues which are harming the stonework.

The improvement works have been outlined following a review of East Ayrshire Council's 307 properties earlier this year. The review considered the overall performance of the buildings, which included the condition of the buildings, condition of the components, accessibility, utilisation, energy efficiency and running costs.

The review concluded that 146 properties were deemed to be performing well; a further 146 properties were performing as expected and 15 properties were underperforming, in terms of the fabric of the building. Of these 15 properties, two require 'major capital investment' in order to improve – the Palace theatre and the Grand Hall.

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Speaking about the findings, Cllr Douglas Reid said: "There has been substantial investment in the complex in recent years to preserve the stonework and maintain the roof, as well as internal refurbishments, so it's very disappointing to learn that despite our very best efforts, this classic venue is still in need of so much attention.

"Today we were asked to note the financial implications associated with the Palace Theatre complex, and that an additional funding allocation in the region of £5 million will be incorporated into Capital Programme proposals when this is reviewed in February, with East Ayrshire Leisure Trust seeking to generate grant funding.

"In terms of the present day, patrons should know that the building is safe and operational and will continue to be so until further notice. We will be working with colleagues in the Trust to develop a plan and timescale for these works and it would be our hope that these can be conducted on a phased and managed basis, to allow us to continue to offer the same cultural programme our patrons have come to know, love and expect over the years.

"This requires our immediate attention and we will work tirelessly with colleagues in East Ayrshire Leisure Trust to find a solution. This venue is one of the best provincial theatres in Scotland, outwith the major cities and together we will do all we can to preserve it."

(CM/JG)

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