Updated: Oct 31, 2019
1) There is still no feedback from the council on the legal questions nor written information about any preliminary or other reports on the station. We also do not know if the heavy scaffolding is to hold the walls up or facilitate the drying out process (as the roof is now water tight) or both.
Certainly the reaction to all our interventions with the council, the Compulsory Purchase Order Policy Unit etc.and the various politicians at all levels resulted in the action required to safeguard the public from injury and the hotel from further deterioration. We now wait for the Structural Engineers' Report which is key. If all goes well with that we expect the SHBT (Scottish Historic Buildings Trust) to restart the feasibility study process.
We also look to the Scottish Govt and/or NetworkRail to fund this catastrophe. SAC should have done more in 2013 when the first Dangerous Building Notice was imposed by them. They should have ensured proper evaluations were made. The FOI (Freedom of Information) papers I accessed is a catalogue of inactivity, inches thick emails between NetworkRail and SAC.
The Ayr Station Hotel Community Action Group contact with SAC (since we set up less than a year ago) has been positive and we cannot say that nothing has been done by the present administration. Information could be better but we have had a reaction.
2) We have started networking about having a one day conference on supports available to educate communities and councils on improving their estates. It looks like it will be on Wednesday 10th April, from 10am - 4pm, in Ayr Town Hall. This is not confirmed. The contributors could include some of the following:-
Compulsory Order Policy Unit
Community Right to Buy
Heritage Environment Scotland
Empty Homes Initiative (Development Trusts Association)
Scotland Towns Partnership
Heritage Lottery Fund
Architecture and Design Scotland
Scottish Historic Building Trust
We are hoping South Ayrshire Council (SAC) will come on board fully. We will need their participation and that of local community groups, as well as members of the public. We expect it to be free of charge, apart from refreshments.
3) We are trying to have Ayr Station Hotel upgraded by Heritage Environment Scotland from B to A. Listing. This would be very difficult. We are trying to have the whole area of Burns Statue Square etc linked in. I have put in the application and the supporting evidence from an eminent conservation architectural body is on its way. A listing gives more protection, but could mean also get funding from NetworkRail.
4) We are in contact with MSP Colin Smyth, who chaired our first public meeting. He is trying to follow up all the lobbying we did earlier with the three Scottish Ministers with a locus in the Station Hotel i.e Transport, Ancient Buildings and Town Centres, by arranging a ministerial meeting for the committee.
5) They Structural Engineers' Report is due in March. We hope it will be made public and that the Council or ourselves will have a public meeting to discuss the findings and to be involved in the future process.
6) We are fortunate that the Scottish Historic Buildings Trust is interested in taking the Hotel on as a major project, from start to finish, from consultation to completion. It depends on the Structural Engineers' Report. Years of neglect by the foreign owner, with a lack of interest and legal protection of the building by the Council and Scottish Government mean restoration and development will be very expensive. However a new station is also very expensive at well over £20 million for a glass and steel anonymous building lasting 25 years.
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