The Scottish Government is to invest £5.3 million to turn a former Kilmarnock bottling plant into a low carbon development which will include hundreds of affordable homes.

Around £3.5m will be invested in the former Johnnie Walker bottling plant, which will be transformed to include an enterprise and innovation hub for business startups, a renewable energy centre and commercial and leisure units.

The investment includes £1.8m from the Low Carbon Infrastructure Transition Programme for a new geothermal heating system that will provide low cost, renewable energy for the new homes.

It follows a £3.5m contribution announced by the UK government earlier this month.

Economy secretary Keith Brown announced the investment while visiting the site in Kilmarnock today.

He said: “I have already made a commitment to support an Ayrshire Growth Deal and this ambitious new development is part and parcel of that commitment.

“As a responsible, progressive nation, Scotland must also continue to demonstrate strong leadership on climate change. That is why I’m pleased that the Scottish Government will also be able to support our first new geothermal heating system in almost two decades, allowing local residents to access low carbon energy at an affordable price.

“We want to support local economies as well as the next generation of innovative manufacturing and digital companies, which is why the HALO project is such an exciting development. I’m sure that the Ayrshire and Scottish economies will reap the benefits from this project for years to come.”

Marie Macklin of The HALO Kilmarnock said: “Right from the outset The HALO has been about creating a community solution for this site that the people of Kilmarnock and Ayrshire can be proud of. This has truly been a joint effort and this additional support from the Scottish Government will help to turn this vision into reality, creating up to 1,800 jobs in the process and contributing £63m of GDP to the Scottish economy.

“A £65m development across three phases, The HALO will feature a new Urban Park, surrounded by entrepreneurial businesses in computer technology, cyber research, engineering, fashion, financial services and light manufacturing and an Enterprise and Innovation Centre, ensuring that the young people of Ayrshire can develop the skills needed to benefit from the 4th industrial revolution – the digital revolution.”

He said: “This is fantastic news for Kilmarnock, East Ayrshire and the wider Ayrshire community. It represents a huge step forward for the Growth Deal as a whole as this amazing initiative will complete the regeneration of one of the biggest brown sites in Scotland to date.

“I am delighted that the Scottish Government has recognised the potential economic and community benefits the Halo project will bring to the area in terms of job creation, town centre living, increased leisure amenities and environmental improvements.

“Today’s funding announcement by the Scottish Government, together with East Ayrshire Council’s own £2m contribution and the £3.5m announced earlier this month by the UK Government means that, starting with £25m Phase 1, this project can become a reality.”

David Cutter, President of Diageo Global Supply & Procurement, added: “Our ambition has always been to see this site redeveloped for the benefit of the local economy and community in Kilmarnock and this investment from Scottish Government is a significant step towards achieving that goal.

“We are delighted to have worked in partnership with East Ayrshire Council to support the HALO project and we congratulate Marie Macklin and her team on securing this funding.”

Source: Scottish Construction Now

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