An outdoor museum and a community building with public toilets are part of council proposals for the old Woolworths site on Ayr High Street.

The empty plot is to be transformed into a multi-million pound park for events with a new path along the river. 

An earlier bid was put forward for eight flats – but they have now been scrapped because of the expense of building them in a conservation zone. 

Extensive parts of the river wall must be rebuilt as part of the development.

South Ayrshire Council leader Peter Henderson said: “I believe the plan put forward is good for the town and will open up the river.

“We have inherited the problem from the last administration’s [Conservative and Labour] plan.”

The SNP councillor added: “We have been left with a derelict boarded up hole at the bottom of the town.”

In 2016, a  former Conservative and Labour administration put forward a plan to build an elaborately designed council office inspired by Florence.

The site was razed to make way for the new build, which was to include a hotel. It was led by now defunct regeneration organisation Ayr Renaissance.

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However another local authority office design was put forward in 2018 by a new ruling coalition of the SNP under leader Douglas Campbell, Labour and Independents. It was knocked back.

The current proposal is the third idea for the plot and consultation has taken place. 

Conservative local leader Martin Dowey said: “The SNP and Labour administration are trying to re-invent history. The planning application was previously cancelled by this administration – due to public opinion.”

Architect firm Austin Smith Lord has produced the latest designs for the riverside space, which could be used for pop-up markets, festivals or Christmas light switch ons. 

As well as a community pavilion, the site will offer seating and cycle racks. Trees, hedges, wildflower turf lawns and raised beds are to be planted.

Design documents said there is the potential for an outdoor museum with plinths to display artefacts.

An historic town house, which borders the site is to be knocked down. 

The council has submitted a planning application for the proposal, which is yet to be approved. Comments can be submitted until April 16. 

A design statement lodged as part of the application said: “Similar to many Scottish town centres, which are facing challenging times, the Ayr Riverside site has great opportunity to attract a wide range of visitors and help rejuvenate the area, creating a diverse, sustainable and thriving place for the community to live, work and enjoy.”