West Kilbride is celebrating after being named Britain’s best village high street. As a category winner of the Great British High Street Awards 2015, West Kilbride will now receive a share of a prize pot worth £80,000 - alongside expert training and tailor-made tips from Google's training taskforce for 100 shops, bars and restaurants.
Kay Hall, vice-chair of West Kilbride Community Initiative, said:
"Winning the Great British High Street Award is a fantastic achievement. Over the past few years we've tried our best to adapt to the way people's lives have been changing. That's why we're so pleased that the judges and the people of West Kilbride have recognised all that we've done to improve our high street and make sure it stays at the heart of our community for years to come.
"We're going to use this win as a springboard to do even more. Thank you everyone who voted - we are thrilled."
Added local MSP Kenneth Gibson:
"I am absolutely delighted for the people of West Kilbride and in particular West Kilbride Community Initiative who have worked for years, in challenging circumstances to transform the heart of the village.
"Prior to its transformation and designation as Scotland's only Craft and Design Town, West Kilbride was a village in decline. The hard work, imagination and initiative of the local community can now be celebrated with the achievement of this much deserved award."
Mr Gibson has marked West Kilbride's success by submitting the following motion to the Scottish Parliament:
Motion Number: S4M-15013 Lodged By: Kenneth Gibson Date Lodged: 30/11/2015
Title: West Kilbride Wins Best Village in the 2015 Great British High StreetAwards
Motion Text: That the Parliament congratulates West Kilbride Community Initiative Ltd on being crowned Best Village in the 2015 Great British High Street Awards on St Andrew’s Day; considers that, throughout the ‘90s and early ‘00s, West Kilbride was in serious decline, with a falling population and as many as 21 out of 40 shop units boarded up, and that antisocial behaviour and vandalism had also become a significant problem for the residents; believes that the establishment of the West Kilbride Community Initiative Ltd was a crucial moment for the village and marked the beginning of a reversal of fortunes, which saw West Kilbride designated as Scotland’s only Craft and Design Town, the C-listed Barony Centre renovated, closure of the village hall prevented and it being brought into community ownership, the establishment of an environmental group and a programme of works to improve gardens and walkways and the refurbishment of High Street buildings to create artist studios and gallery space; considers the turnaround witnessed in West Kilbride over the last few years to be a remarkable one, and believes that the hard work of Maggie Broadley, Kay Hall and their team has helped make West Kilbride such a jewel in North Ayrshire’s crown and thoroughly deserving of its success.