North Ayrshire Retail Capacity Study

Gravis Planning was appointed by North Ayrshire Council to undertake a comprehensive assessment of retail and leisure planning issues for the period 2023-2037, in support of the planning authority’s evidence base for its emerging Local Development Plan (LDP).


North Ayrshire Council




North Ayrshire



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Shutterstock 1353404852 resize crop

Our Involvement

North Ayrshire Council encompasses tremendous contrasts and can be considered, in effect, a microcosm of Scotland. This includes remote highland and island areas on Arran and Cumbrae, traditional seaside locations along the north coast, areas of historical industry in the Three Towns and the Garnock Valley along with the new town of Irvine.

The retail study undertaken was designed to address a wide range of issues extending well beyond conventional retail capacity assessments, including a review of local access to shopping and services, support for the principles of 20-minute neighbourhoods, access to food shopping, the vitality and viability of centres and future requirements for new retail and leisure floorspace.

Issues Encountered

Reflecting the diversity of issues to be addressed, the study included:

  • Extensive household surveys of shopping and leisure activities.
  • Detailed analysis of retail and leisure floorspace using Regional Assessor data.
  • A comprehensive review of long term trends in retail and leisure and assessing the implications of these for North Ayrshire communities.
  • Consultations with Community Larders and Foodbanks, and assessing accessibility to affordable groceries.
  • The development of a strategic retail model identifying changes in expenditure and turnover to 2037.
  • Recommendations for the retail strategy in North Ayrshire Council's emerging LDP, including the network of centres, centre boundaries and policy recommendations for new retail and leisure floorspace.

The final report was submitted to North Ayrshire Council in June 2024.

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