We now have the independent review of the Ayr Station Hotel Feasibility Study by Dave Ramsay, who is an engineer with an MBA who has worked on oil rigs and nuclear power stations. He has made the time to do this Review of the Feasibility Study commissioned by the Task Force set up by the Scottish Government when the Station had to close down due to a Dangerous Building Notice (DBN) issued by South Ayrshire Council in 2018, the second DBN.
The first DBN in 2013 was followed by the first Structural Engineers Survey (secret but mentioned in the Feasibility Study). Instead of a complete Repair Notice, as one would expect, a Dangerous Building Notice (DBN) was issued. Thus the buildings were not completely repaired. At the time I understand that Transport and Planning were in the same Department of South Ayrshire Council. The Transport policy appears to have favoured a Transport Hub at the top of the town, Did that view prejudice the decision? NetworkRail also appears to have been reluctant to repair the Hotel properly, resulting in deterioration of the building.
Since then Mr Ung, who appears less culpable, has not been much in evidence. NetworkRail has done enough repairs, just, to stop damage to people but not completed proper repairs. Otherwise you wouldn't have another DBN.
The costings in the Feasibility Study appear geared to part demolition of the buildings when retention and reasonable re-development to several purposes would be cheaper, There has not been proper public consultation. In the Option Table on p110 of the Feasibility Study the weightings given to environment and heritage are very small and to the funding gap are large, Yet no costings are given for demolition or the cost of a new station wing, which is what they obviously prefer (options 8-10). They don't even consider the seven options involving retention of the whole building (options 1-7).
Mr. Ramsay has given costings on page 31 of a range of options. The one for keeping a full Hotel, which is option 3, costs £22M. Funnily enough the 2018 Report commissioned by South Ayrshire Council but not used, (mentioned in the Feasibility Study) the need for a new 80 bed Hotel at the top of the town. Meantime, all the options involving a new build involve £43-51M.
I am very grateful to Mr. Ramsay for giving his commitment, his capabilities, his time, his thoroughness, reading through the Feasibility Study, the Dangerous Building Notices, the Structural Engineers Report and everything else he could find. He confirms that the concerns I have been raising are legitimate. The options available for the Hotel are much cheaper in every way than any thought of demolition. South Ayrshire Council should take note.