BARRHEAD may have its critics but it is one of two contenders to become Scotland’s most improved town.

The town has been shortlisted for the award the award on the back of more than £100 million being spent on regeneration in the last 15 years.

It comes on a wave of growing optimism around Barrhead, which has culminated in local businesses coming together to try and form a Business Improvement District (BID). 

The town will face off against Kelso, a borders town, after they were chosen from dozens of entries eligible for ‘Scotland’s Most Improved Town’ at the 2015 SURF awards. 

SURF is Scotland’s Independent Regeneration Network and its annual awards celebrate best practice in community regeneration.

Convener for infrastructure and sustainable growth Cllr Tony Buchanan, said: “Barrhead has undergone a major transformation in recent years and I’m delighted that we have been shortlisted for this coveted award.

“In East Renfrewshire we are working hard to make sure our town centres are thriving and vibrant. We want them to be places where people want to come to shop, work and socialise.

“Barrhead town centre has benefited from a £100 million council-led regeneration, with investments including the Barrhead Foundry, new council offices, health and care centre, town centre supermarket and other improvements such as new street furniture and signs.

“We are also looking to the future of Barrhead with the transformation of Glasgow Road which is now suitable for a wide range of uses including retail, business and leisure and the planned residential development to the south of Barrhead including a new railway station.”

Amongst the improvements made include a new health centre, the construction of the council offices, the £3.6 million upgrade to Barrhead Sports Centre to become the foundry, the building of Asda, multiple street-scaping projects and the complete overhaul of many council housing buildings in upper Auchenback.

Last month The News reported that the first planning application had been received for the erection of more than 150 homes at a site close to Springhill Primary School on Springhill Road.

It is thought to be the first sign of development within East Renfrewshire Council’s award winning plan for Barrhead South, which includes plans for more than 1,000 homes and a new train station.

As part of the ongoing regeneration, the town could also be linked to junction five of the M77 and see the construction of a watersports park in the Dams to Darnley Country Park.

However some residents remain unconvinced, taking to social media to voice their scepticism.

Resident Lesley Robb posted on Facebook: “Definitely got to be a joke. Maybe those nominating it would be good enough to point out the improvements because I can’t see them. The Main Street is a bloody eyesore.”

Vickie Robinson added: “I must have blinked and missed it as I see no improvement.”

The winning project will be announced by a leading Scottish Government Minister at an event in December.

SOURCE: Barrhead News

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