The Elite Ayrshire Business Circle

The Elite Ayrshire Business Circle

Thursday, 23 March 2017

Trainers’ championship showdown at Coral Scottish Grand National Festival

By: Iain Ferguson

SCOTLAND’S biggest and richest race meeting the Coral Scottish Grand National Festival will, for the second year running, feature a ‘showdown’ for the British jumps trainers’ championship.

But this year it is Nicky Henderson, currently £150,000 ahead, who is challenging champion Paul Nicholls and not Willie Mullins who ran the champ so close last year.


[Pictured: Trainer Paul Nicholls and jockey Sam Twiston-Davies celebrate last year’s Coral Scottish Grand National win when Vicente triumphed.]

In fact Nicholls virtually clinched the title in 2016 by winning the Coral Scottish Grand National with Vicente, and is targeting the £122,000 first prize this year with Arpege D’Alene - fourth in the JT McNamara National Hunt Challenge Cup at Cheltenham last week.

Like Vicente, a seven year-old, Arpege D’Alene is part-owned by Sir Alex Ferguson, and the Ayr race has long been his target.

The Coral Scottish Grand National is the second richest race behind the Grand National, still to be run for this season, so will play a pivotal part in the trainers’ race.

Both Nicholls and Henderson are likely to have runners in the four Class 1 contests at the Coral Scottish Grand National Festival, which include the QTS Scottish Champion Hurdle which carries a winners’ prize of almost £60,000.

Scotland’s richest race meeting takes place on Friday 21 April and Saturday 22 April and tickets are selling fast.

The Saturday card has sold out in advance for the last two years and will undoubtedly do so again this year. For more information and to book tickets go online at www.ayr-racecourse.co.uk or call 01292 264179.

For further information please contact Iain Ferguson on 01292 294972 or 07795 565691.

Ayr Racecourse and the associated Western House Hotel are Founder Members of the Elite Ayrshire Business Circle.


South Ayrshire Council flies flags at half-mast

Flags at South Ayrshire Council’s headquarters – County Buildings in Ayr – are flying at half-mast today (23 March) to commemorate the terrorist attack in London yesterday and to honour the injured and those who lost their lives.


South Ayrshire Provost Helen Moonie said: “Yesterday’s events in London were a senseless and unwarranted attack on the freedom, democracy and values that we hold dear within the United Kingdom.

“The thoughts and prayers of the people of South Ayrshire are with all those affected, especially those who lost their loved ones.

“It’s shocking that lives could be taken so cruelly as people went about their daily business or – in the case of PC Palmer – doing the job he loved to keep others safe.

“We must stand tall in the face of such attacks and show that we are united and will not allow our values, freedom and humanity to be undermined.”

South Ayrshire Council is a Founder Member of the Elite Ayrshire Business Circle.


Tuesday, 21 March 2017

Jockey Brian Hughes and trainer Nick Alexander on fine form at Ayr Racecourse

By: Iain Ferguson

BRIAN Hughes rode five winners while trainer Nick Alexander saddled four horses to win over Ayr’s two-day March meeting recently.

Hughes bagged a treble at Tennent’s Raceday on Saturday to add to his brace on Friday.


His Saturday successes came on Desert Cry, a horse co-owned by Sunderland boss Davie Moyes, in the Craigie Cup, Lochnell (pictured above) in the mares’ handicap hurdle over two miles five furlongs and Calix Delafayette in the national hunt flat race.

On Friday Brian rode Marlee Massie and Gold Opera to victories for Nick Alexander who also won with Another Mattie on Friday and The Bishop on Saturday.

Borders trainer Stuart Coltherd recorded a double success on Friday with Hurricane Rita winning the two mile four and a half furlong handicap hurdle followed by Surprise Vendor in the two mile hurdle. Both horses were ridden by Stuart’s son Sam.

And Lucinda Russell was on target with Vertigo, evens favourite, ridden by Alexander Thorne, an impressive winner of the two mile five furlong maiden hurdle on Friday while she saddled Imjoeking to win on Saturday.

Ayr’s next meeting is the Coral Scottish Grand National Festival on Friday 21 April and Saturday 22 April. For more information and to book tickets call 01292 264179 or go online at www.ayr-racecourse.co.uk

For further information please contact Iain Ferguson on 01292-294972 or 07795-565691.

Ayr Racecourse and the associated Western House Hotel are Founder Members of the Elite Ayrshire Business Circle.


Sunday, 19 March 2017

Star Wars, Elephants and Fingal's Cave! 'Fantastic' schools orchestra concert

Budding musicians from South Ayrshire schools came together to perform at a sell-out concert last month.

The South Ayrshire Schools Orchestra Concert takes place every year and gives talented youngsters the chance to play in front of a capacity audience at Ayr Town Hall.

Around 250 young musicians amazed the crowd with their talents as they played everything from feature film music to other classical favourites.


The South Ayrshire Schools Strings Orchestra was first on stage; they played a rendition of The Final Countdown which was a hit for Europe back in 1986. The orchestra which features 120 musicians (P4 – P7) from primary schools across South Ayrshire then followed this up with the impressive New World Symphony by Dvorak.

The next performance was from the South Ayrshire Schools Symphony Orchestra which is made up of 80 pupils (S1 – S6) from a number of our secondary schools. Conducted by Elaine Rietveld, the orchestra played the enchanting Baby Elephant Walk and then delighted the audience with some Star Wars favourites.

Last to perform was the South Ayrshire Chamber Orchestra which features some of our best young musicians. They did not disappoint as they played the superb Mendelssohn’s Concert Overture ‘Hebrides’ also known as Fingal's Cave. 

Soloists Matthew Terras (S6 – Prestwick Academy) and Sean Morrison (S6 – Queen Margaret Academy) then enthralled the audience with the Concerto for violin and cello in A minor by Brahms. They played faultlessly and it’s no surprise that Sean has been selected to lead the West of Scotland Schools Orchestra later this year.

The Chamber Orchestra’s performance was rounded off with a foot tapping tune from Tchaikovsky and the enthusiastic audience clapped along as the gifted musicians played their hearts out.

There was a surprise for three of the performers on the night.

Naomi Priestnall P7 from Glenburn Primary), Mitchell Lamont S5 from Belmont Academy and Sean Morrison from Queen Margaret Academy, received a special tutors’ award in recognition of their commitment and dedication to their respective orchestras.

The evening was a great success with all the proceeds just over £370 going to the Ayrshire Hospice.

Parent, Joan Brockie said: “Fantastic concert. Thank you to everyone involved.”

Another parent, Jillian Plunkett commented: “Amazing – I was blown away by how great they sounded. Fantastic experience”

Douglas Hutchison, Director of Educational Services at South AAyrshire Council said: “I know the young people taking part had been practising for many weeks and this certainly paid off as their performances were first class. 

“Last year over 1,200 children and young people from our primary and secondary schools received musical instruction. These concerts are a tribute to our outstanding instrumental music service and a great way of inspiring our young people to even greater heights as well as building confidence at the same time.”

South Ayrshire Council is a Founder Member of the Elite Ayrshire Business Circle.


Friday, 10 March 2017

CKD Galbraith offers for sale contemporary detached Ayrshire country house

Leading independent Scottish property consultancy CKD Galbraith is offering for sale The Beeches, a contemporary, detached country house situated about one mile outside the village of Dunlop and overlooking its own grounds of just under two acres. 


The property forms part of a small exclusive development created in 2008 from the original West Langton Farm – a beautiful Georgian farmhouse and steading – with each property being detached and carefully planned to ensure maximum privacy yet with a neighbourly feel.

The accommodation of The Beeches is on one level and finished to an exacting standard. 


The living room has a high vaulted ceiling with skylight windows pulling in natural sunlight and a log burning stove. 


The kitchen is equally impressive. Lots of windows ensure the room is bright and at almost 24 feet in length there is plenty of scope for relaxed entertaining. The white wooden units are complimented by a silver range cooker and a chunky sleeper beam separates the kitchen from the dining area. There is a separate utility room. 


The Beeches has four double bedrooms. All have fitted wardrobes and easy access to a nearby bath or shower room. The master bedroom is ensuite and also has a dressing room.


The gardens of The Beeches are landscaped and face west with panoramic views towards the Isle of Arran, Ailsa Craig and on a clear day the peaks of Ben Lomond. A level lawn surrounds the house interspersed with mature trees and is a haven for playing children. The courtyard at the rear of the house is shared with two properties nearby. Adjacent is a paddock of about 1.4 acres which is well fenced and providing excellent grazing. There is also a single garage.

Offers Over £425,000 are being sought. 

PDF available on www.ckdgalbraith.co.uk

About CKD Galbraith

CKD Galbraith is an independent property consultancy employing 236 staff in offices across Scotland including Edinburgh, Stirling, Perth, Cupar, Inverness, Castle Douglas, Ayr, Elgin, Galashiels, Kelso, and Aberdeen, offering local knowledge, national expertise and enjoying international reach.

The firm is Scotland’s largest and leading rural consultancy managing and providing advice on farm, forestry, land and estate interests on over three million acres. CKD Galbraith provides the full range of property consulting services across the residential, commercial, rural and renewable energy sectors throughout Scotland and northern England.

CKD Galbraith 
7 Killoch Place 
Ayr KA7 2EA 

Contact: R A Cherry BSc MRICS 
Tel: 01292 268181 
Fax: 01292 292300 
  
To find out more about CKD Galbraith visit www.ckdgalbraith.co.uk

CKD Galbraith’s Ayr Office is a Founder Member of the Elite Ayrshire Business Circle.


Friday, 3 March 2017

Full steam ahead as demolition begins on Ayr’s Riverside site

Plans to breathe new life in to Ayr's historic town centre are now officially underway. Contractors have moved onto the site on the town's High Street as they prepare a number of buildings for demolition, paving the way towards the construction of a new Riverside Block.


[Pictured left to right: South Ayrshire Councillors Kirsty Darwent, Bill Grant and Council Leader Bill McIntosh mark the start of demolition work at Ayr’s Riverside site.] 

Since 2013 Ayr Renaissance has been acquiring the properties on the Riverside block - the area of vacant properties around the former Woolworths building. This process was completed in 2016 and a master plan for its redevelopment formed. This masterplan was approved by South Ayrshire Council last week giving the green-light for demolition to commence.

The masterplan sets a vision for a high quality mixed-use development including quality office accommodation as well as space for niche retail units, cafes, restaurants and public engagement. The plan sets out a commitment to top quality design sympathetic to existing historic buildings and the surrounding conservation area.

The demolition contract has been awarded, after an open tendering process, to George Beattie Ltd of Kilsyth. It is a 40 week contract and includes provision for archaeological investigations to be carried out by Rathmell Archaeology.

The demolition contract involves the removal of all internal fixtures and fittings, followed by the demolition of all structures with the removal of all debris off site. This will be carried out under the watchful eye of our archaeologists who will ensure anything of historical interest will be identified and recorded. Once the buildings are cleared a series of trenches will be dug across the site to allow further investigation, ensuring anything of archaeological interest is identified and recorded.

James Knox, Chair of Ayr Renaissance said, "We've waited a long time for this day, and I am delighted to see the contractor on site, beginning the preparations for demolition within hours of South Ayrshire Council granting planning consent.

"This is a very complex site to work on; however, we are determined to make progress as fast as possibly so the people of Ayr will see the river from the High Street for the first time in generations.

"We're very excited at the prospect of an archaeological dig which will explore this historic part of Ayr that has lain under concrete for many years."

Bill McIntosh, Leader of South Ayrshire Council and AR board member said, "With the hoardings up and work now getting underway I'm proud to be here to mark the first significant milestone for this ambitious project.

"These positive steps will pave the way to a bustling new quarter in Ayr's historic town centre, breathing new life into the area and bringing people back to the riverside.

"Locals and visitors alike will soon see visible signs of progress as the old buildings come down, with the Council's flagship office accommodation project helping to kick-start regeneration plans and bringing benefits to the wider South Ayrshire economy."

South Ayrshire Council is a Founder Member of the Elite Ayrshire Business Circle.


Friday, 24 February 2017

Leading jockeys eye big prizes at Ayr Racecourse

By: Iain Ferguson

THERE’S some excellent prize-money for a start of the week fixture at Ayr Racecourse on Monday (27 February) when the seven race card includes two Class 3 contests.

And the £57,000 on offer has attracted some leading jockeys including Tom Scudamore, Brian Hughes, Paddy Brennan and Aidan Colemant to the west coast of Scotland and a really competitive afternoon’s racing is in prospect.

The first of the Class 3s is The Racing UK Now in HD! Novices’ Limited Handicap Chase over two and a half miles due off at 4.15pm, and recent course winner Master Ruffit, trained by Neil McKnight in Northern Ireland, makes the trip over the Irish Sea, but could find another Ayr winner Lucinda Russell’s Newtown Lad a tough nut to crack.


The other feature race run half an hour later is a two and a half mile handicap hurdle, and this looks like being the most open heat of the afternoon. Dan Skelton sends Willow’s Warrior on the 640 mile round trip from his Warwickshire base, but this 10 year-old has questions to answer and Galston trainer Mike Smith’s Strong Economy (pictured above) could follow up a recent win at the track off a light weight.

Leading Flat trainer Mark Johnston saddles Golden Jeffrey in the bumper at 5.15pm, but Sandy Thomson’s McGowan’s Pass caught the eye in a similar race at Ayr last month and is the one to beat.

The first race is at 2.10pm with gates open at 12.10pm.

For further information please contact Iain Ferguson on 01292 294972 or 07795 565691.


Ayr Racecourse and the associated Western House Hotel are Founder Members of the Elite Ayrshire Business Circle.


Thursday, 23 February 2017

CKD Galbraith offers for sale a beautiful country house with private grounds

Leading independent Scottish property consultancy CKD Galbraith is offering for sale a beautiful country house near Alloway.


Whiteleys is situated amidst prime Ayrshire countryside surrounded by its own land of some thirty acres and sheltered on three sides by mature woodland. The property lies just two miles outside the village of Alloway, well known for it leafy avenues and high value homes.


Historically, Whiteleys was a working farm but has retired gracefully into a comfortable family home. There is a pretty cottage (Stable Cottage) which sits independently and has four double bedrooms all on one level – perfect for additional family members or generating an income as a letting property.

The accommodation of Whiteleys House is well proportioned with bright, spacious rooms all on one level. 


The lounge - almost 30feet in length - has a bay of windows overlooking the gardens and the conservatory which lies off the lounge takes full advantage of the tranquil countryside views. The dining room can be entered from the lounge or the hallway and has a door out to the gardens. 


The kitchen is fitted with a range of shaker style units and has ample room for a breakfasting table or a sociable sitting room. There is also a well-equipped utility room and a shower room adjacent to the kitchen – ideally located for washing muddy hands. 

There are three good sized bedrooms. The master bedroom has excellent storage and a luxurious en suite bathroom. The office, which was created from a former byre, could easily be a large fourth bedroom if required. 

Despite its generous proportions, Whiteleys is both economical and environmentally friendly as the present owners installed a number of solar and hot water panels with a feed in tariff of £1,300 per annum.

The outbuildings of Whiteleys are clean and well maintained. There is a stable block with five good sized stables, a tack room and a large stock shed (120ft). In addition there are various workshops and stores as well as garaging with remote controlled doors. The grazing land is divided into four enclosures and is high quality, fertile land.

Offers Over £850,000 (as whole) are being sought. PDF available on www.ckdgalbraith.co.uk

About CKD Galbraith

CKD Galbraith is an independent property consultancy employing 236 staff in offices across Scotland including Edinburgh, Stirling, Perth, Cupar, Inverness, Castle Douglas, Ayr, Elgin, Galashiels, Kelso, and Aberdeen, offering local knowledge, national expertise and enjoying international reach.

The firm is Scotland’s largest and leading rural consultancy managing and providing advice on farm, forestry, land and estate interests on over three million acres. CKD Galbraith provides the full range of property consulting services across the residential, commercial, rural and renewable energy sectors throughout Scotland and northern England.

CKD Galbraith 
7 Killoch Place 
Ayr KA7 2EA 

Contact: R A Cherry BSc MRICS 
Tel: 01292 268181 
Fax: 01292 292300 
  
To find out more about CKD Galbraith visit www.ckdgalbraith.co.uk

CKD Galbraith’s Ayr Office is a Founder Member of the Elite Ayrshire Business Circle.


Tuesday, 21 February 2017

Green light for transformational plans to breathe new life into Ayr riverside

Ambitious plans to transform a neglected part of Ayr's historic town centre into a thriving new public realm have been approved by South Ayrshire Council. The new masterplan from Ayr Renaissance involves the demolition of a section of High Street to create a new thriving hub.


The masterplan, which involves the regeneration of land between the medieval "Auld Brig" and the Victorian "New Bridge", includes the demolition of the massive retail stores which have blocked access to the river since the 1960s, the creation of landscaped public realm, alongside a festival building and an elegant new waterfront for the town.

The masterplan will deliver a vision for a mixed development including quality office accommodation and housing, as well as space for niche retail units, cafes, restaurants and spaces for public engagement. The plan sets out a commitment to top quality design including the use of materials that relate to existing historic buildings and to an overall scale that respects the surrounding conservation area.

Councillor Bill McIntosh, Leader of South Ayrshire Council said the decision marked an exciting time, not just for Ayr, but for the whole of South Ayrshire, "I'm very proud we're now at the point when we will see the physical works to regenerate Ayr get underway. This has been a long time coming and marks the start of a whole new era for the town that will create a legacy for generations to come.

"The transformation of this riverside site and the opportunities to open up the river as a feature once again, will breathe new life into the town and will well and truly ensure Ayr is a true destination of choice for living, working and leisure. Ayr has a vibrant and exciting future ahead – and it starts now."

Traditional vennels, in keeping with the existing town centre, will open up informal pedestrian connections throughout the Riverside Block site from all directions; while in the longer term, the River Ayr Walk, which currently ends at the Auld Brig, could continue across the site, running along the river to the sea. The north shore is also part of the plan which will be re-landscaped as part of the framing of a new River Square including the stretch of river flanked by both bridges - with the potential to become the focal point for festivities and events.

James Knox, Chairman of Ayr Renaissance, said: "This decision marks a turning point in the fortunes of Ayr. Decades of blight will be swept away, opening up the river to the locals for the first time in generations.

"Our masterplan offers a humane and beautiful solution to the transformation of this key sight which will act as a magnet for visitors, office workers and inhabitants alike."

The masterplan was prepared by architect Niall McLaughlin, who has worked extensively for Oxford University and the London Olympic Authority, and Charles Jencks, world renowned land artist and co-founder of Maggie's Centres which builds cancer centres designed the world's top architects.

The full application for the Ayr Riverside Block can be found CLICK HERE.

South Ayrshire Council is a Founder Member of the Elite Ayrshire Business Circle.


Friday, 17 February 2017

South Ayrshire Council waste to be transformed by new recycling facility

South Ayrshire councillors had a sneak preview of the new green waste recycling centre in Prestwick last week. 


The new facility will be used by the Council to transform its own green waste such as grass and leaves into usable products like mulch and top dressing soil.

Council staff came up with the idea for the Glenburn Green Waste Recycling Centre and then worked to implement the pilot project. The Council’s grounds maintenance team see many advantages for the centre and will be able to use the composted material in parks and golf courses helping to save £42,324 a year on disposal costs. 

If the pilot is successful, the Council will look to roll out the use of end products such as mulch and top dressing soil in public spaces, reducing the need to purchase these materials in the future.

Councillor John McDowall, Sustainability and Environment Portfolio Holder for South Ayrshire Council was impressed with the facility, he said: “The emphasis these days is very much on reducing waste and reusing as much of it as possible, so this centre ticks all the boxes. 

“Staff came up with the idea and they should be applauded for their innovative thinking and their hard work to get the centre up and running. We will monitor the quality of the material produced as part of this pilot to deal with Council waste, but I am confident the centre will prove its worth.”

South Ayrshire Council is a Founder Member of the Elite Ayrshire Business Circle.


Wednesday, 15 February 2017

Japan's growing market for Scotch whisky

The value of Scottish food and drink exports to Japan has surged to almost £100 million, strongly supported by the country’s growing taste for Scotch whisky, External Affairs Secretary Fiona Hyslop said today.


Latest available export figures show the overall value of food and drink sales to Japan rose by 9% to a record £98.7 million in 2015, compared with £90.3 million in 2014 and £51.63 million in 2007.  Whisky exports account for 77% of the total, with seafood 16.71% of Scotland’s current food and drink exports to Japan. 

Ms Hyslop highlighted the quality and provenance of authentic Scottish produce during a visit to the first ever Scottish food and drink fair at the Isetan Shinjuku Store in Tokyo, which boasts the highest sales of any department store in Japan.

Ms Hyslop said: “Scotland has a fantastic larder of some of the world’s best natural produce, a flair for innovation and a longstanding reputation for producing top quality food and drink – so it is no surprise our food and drink industry is enjoying significant success in the Japanese market.

“A growing appetite in Japan for our whisky has supported a strong surge in the value of food and drinks exports to almost £100 million – the highest on record.

“We are committed to building on this success and strengthening relationships with major food distributors and retailers across Japan. I was delighted to help promote Scottish seafood at Japan’s most prestigious department store today, and look forward to working more closely with Isetan Mitsukoshi Holdings and others like them in the future to ensure our produce enjoys continued success in the Japanese market.”

Mr Itazu Takashi, seafood buyer of Isetan Mitsukoshi, said: “We hope customers will enjoy the high quality of Scottish seafood through this promotion, and we hope the unique added value of Scotland produce such as the sustainability of seafood, will inspire them to try it.”

Background

Japan is Scotland’s 13th largest food and drink export market, worth £98.7m million in 2015, up 9% from 2014.

Scotch whisky exports increased by 18% to £75.849 million, making Japan Scotland’s 14th largest market for whisky.

Sources: Overseas Trade Statistics and Regional Trade Statistics

The store visit is part of a programme of activity delivered by Scottish Development International (SDI) and the Scottish Government.

The Cabinet Secretary’s programme of engagements runs from 13 to 17 February in both Tokyo and Nagasaki.

On Monday night, Ms Hyslop held a Business Reception at the British Embassy to promote Scotland as an ideal location for further Japanese investment.

On Tuesday, Ms Hyslop announced Scotland Day will be hosted by Toshima Ward, a cultural hotspot of Tokyo, with a promise venues for Scottish performers on an ongoing basis.

More will be announced throughout the coming week.