The Feasibility Study on Ayr Station Hotel had contributors Atkins (Architecture, Structural Engineering, Building Services, Economics and Transport), Faithful & Gould (Costs), Iceni (Planning and Heritage) and Avison Young (Property).
What springs to mind is that ten years ago to upgrade and adapt the 75 bedroom Hotel to a ship shape student residence with communal rooms etc. would have cost £3M. The costs recently given by Mott MacDonald in the Structural Engineers Survey two years ago was that £10M would make the Hotel wind and watertight. This was after ten years of neglect. In this Feasibility Study they leave out some options because of costs of £10-25M I believe of public money. They omit to consider options 1-7 as economically non-viable. They only look at partial demolition and a new station area with options for the Hotel area (options 8-10). I haven't had time to read it fully but where in these costings does the price to the public purse of the new possible wing, which will be the Station feature? Why do they even suggest a transport hub to leave another big hole at the bus station. People do come to the beach and could do more if we holiday more at home. There is quite a lot of holiday accommodation in that area.
Any funding gap that they talk about should surely come mostly from the Government, either in Holyrood or Westminster, since the cost of any new station complex within it would be publicly funded in full. This would probably amount to £20-25M of Government money through the transport budget from London. There could also be private investment if a forward looking plan were shared with interested parties.
So far as the use for the building is concerned, various public amenities are required, from passenger waiting and catering facilities like cafes and restaurants, to youth hostels, to facilities for clubs and social events, to a bijou hotel, to a small railway museum, to a business hub etc.
Apart from an individual or company investor appearing with deep pockets, the initial idea of a Compulsory Purchase Order by South Ayrshire Council with a back to back agreement with a Heritage Society and Government Funding would seem reasonable. This red Ballochmyle sandstone "Castle in Ayr" as it was called in the newspapers when it was opened along with the other red sandstone buildings in the area of Burns Statue Square is a picturesque, high quality sight to behold for visitors and residents alike. Miller Road expands straight downwards and is again pleasant to the eye. Modern architecture to be pleasing, has to be extremely expensive and doesn't last as long. Why replace high quality with tat?
This Study indicates that half of respondents favour some demolition. This does not square with what we have found in public meetings or in experience with paper surveys or consultations. In this study the main consultation rests with the Council, Transport Scotland, NetworkRail etc. etc. and there was no meaningful consultation with the public over any length of time. Paper consultation had been done and would have been shared. We as an Action Group put posters all along the High Street where you could vote with your phone on the South Ayrshire Council consultation space trying to assist them to increase their coverage. Our assistance wasn't welcomed at the time.
This is a preliminary statement but we will attempt to obtain public involvement to inform our views more fully. Click here for the link to the Feasibility Study.