The future of a block of old buildings running from eight to 48, including the old Woolworths, are to be decided — with some demolished and replaced.

The draft framework from South Ayrshire Council contractor Ayr Renaissance also calls for two-way traffic to be an option at a section of the High Street.

David Bell of Ayr Renaissance said ” The derelict properties around the former Woolworths building in the Riverside block have blighted this part of town for a number of years and have become the focus of frustration for everybody who loves Ayr.

"The development framework, on which we are seeking views , is the first step in the redevelopment of the site. It sets out design principles which future developers must follow and will ensure that , any development is sympathetic to the conservation area and provides direct access from the High Street to the riverside for the first time in generations. The town will no longer turn its back on the river Ayr ” Councillor Bill Grant, said: “I look forward to the consultation on this paper and results and action. The time for talking is over. We have failed to capitalise on our river in the past.

“We need open space. The current riverside development is too intense and built up. This is a step forward but we need to accelerate the process. I really would not like to see more shops in this part of the town.” Councillor Grant, responsible for economic Development, tourism and leisure, said all proposals must obey strict Historic Scotland guidelines and respect the medieval layout of Ayr.

He said: “If we knock a building down it would need then to be replaced.” The report has judged that a chunk of the buildings in question, including 12 to 24, spoil the look of the town and are not in keeping with the beautiful surrounding buildings.

Other ideas include the re-introduction of ancient vennels — particular to Scotland. There are calls to create a number of walkways cutting from the High Street to the river with one main route leading to the water.

The council wants a cantilevered boardwalk erected along the river front.

The Ayr Riverside Development Framework report is due to be discussed at a special full council meeting at County Buildings on Wednesday.

The paper said there was a ‘limited number of public spaces in Ayr Town Centre” for ‘lingering, outdoor eating or drinking and street performances.’ It also said ‘There are opportunities within the Riverside Block to create a range of attractive public spaces as part of the future development.’