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THE MONUMENT MUST BE REBUILT

The Burns Monument was and remains, a critical part of Kilmarnock's cultural heritage. It must be rebuilt - and it should be part of a wider regeneration of the town.

It is a red herring to say that the Council has no money. It has plenty of money - but it has to prioritise. East Ayrshire Council does invest in culture. It has chosen to spend money on The Palace Theatre and Dean Castle ahead of the Burns Monument, and, if you look at the Council coffers overall rather than on a department by department basis, it has also chosen town centre traffic management and other road safety issues ahead of the monument. All these are legitimate choices

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WHO WILL SPEAK UP FOR THE PEOPLE OF KILMARNOCK?

“Never doubt that a group of dedicated citizens can make a difference; indeed, it is the only thing that ever does.” Margaret Mead

Who will speak for the people of Kilmarnock? The Standard has opened a debate. Let us hope that it is an honest one. I vaguely remember that the person who spoke up against the destruction of many of the buildings in our town centre during its redevelopment in the 1970s, worked for the Planning Department of the Council. I think that he was sacked and drummed out of town.

The quote from The Rough Guide about Kilmarnock being ‘a shabby manufacturing town' does need to be challenged as its perception of Kilmarnock is far too one-sided. However, we won't do ourselves any favours if we ignore the element of truth behind their words. These were the views of an outsider and as Burns so wisely commented “Oh wad some power the giftie gie us, to see oursel's as others see us, It wad frae mony a blunder free us.”

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The town is has lost its sparkle

There are many positive aspects to the town but it is hard to escape the conclusion that the town is a mess. In 'The Rough Guide to Scotland' - the Bible of the independent tourist - Kilmarnock gets 16 words in a densely typed book about an inch in thickness. "Kilmarnock, a shabby manufacturing town, is known principally for being the home of Johnnie Walker whisky." The coded message is 'give it a wide berth'.

This quote does need to be challenged as its perception of Kilmarnock is far too one-sided. However, we won't do ourselves any favours if we ignore the element of truth behind their words. These were the views of an outsider and as Burns so wisely commented "Oh wad some power the giftie gie us, to see oursel's as others see us, It wad frae mony a blunder free us."

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