New Cumnock: the next five years
We were appointed in early 2018 by New Cumnock Development Trust to work with the community and lead consultants Outside the Box to create a new masterplan for the town which was funded by the Scottish Government through its Making Places initiative and the Cumnock and Doon Valley Minerals Trust.
This regeneration masterplan is a development of the New Cumnock Community Action Plan prepared in 2013-14 and intended to cover the five years to 2019. That Plan has been very successful in securing a core of projects that have changed perceptions of the village and dramatically improved the appearance of the village as well as enhancing its facilities. This document proposes a series of proposals, projects and ideas that build on the NCCAP.
In particular, we propose that the NCDT continue to focus on the core area around the restored Town Hall and the outdoor Swimming Pool. Pressing for a start to be made on the residential development to the south of the Parish Church, securing on improved gym/cafe development along the south side of the central car park and also trying to ensure progress on the problematic Afton Dyers site adjacent to the Primary School would be a positive start. This area should also be the subject of a public realm proposal that mitigates the effects of heavy vehicles and makes the Civic Heart of the village more comfortable and pleasant for pedestrians.
Regarding physical developments, two subject areas need attention. Firstly, New Cumnock needs to increase its population to support local services and provide higher standards of facilities from retail through to public services, particularly community care. The LDP for the village identifies four small sites for housing development but this is a very modest ambition. A more ambitious proposal would be for the Council to start marketing the former Council housing areas on High Park to a mix of housebuilders and use the site’s landscape quality, outlook and environment to promote the scheme.
Secondly, New Cumnock needs to have more employment and a better-developed path into work and careers. NCDT should press for more industrial units or workshops in the station area to supplement what is already there. They should also consider acquiring the former Trotters building and converting it into a co-working space and a cafe.
This report contains many other suggestions from the community as to how the village could be improved. We have incorporated all of the proposals into this report although we appreciate that it may be impossible to implement them all. What the masterplan does do is sort these ideas into themes and apply these to priority areas of the village. We have not tried to design these various proposals as this is something that will emerge as the ideas start to become realities. We considered that the structure and content of the master plan were more relevant and helpful than designs of individual projects which will inevitably change on the road to implementation.
There are also many proposals for improvements under the broad heading of social and community projects. These are usually not spatial projects and may not even have a physical dimension. Nevertheless, they do represent a collection of excellent proposals for improvement, and we have devised a framework for turning these into reality.
We are grateful to the New Cumnock community, the NCDT and the staff and pupils of New Cumnock Primary and many others for their participation in this project. We developed the work of the Primary School into a Children’s Masterplan for the main streets of the village.
The plan was launched in February 2019 by Jeane Freeman MSP for Carrick, Cumnock and Doon Valley and Cabinet Secretary for Health and Sport in the Scottish Government.
Photo gallery of New Cumnock