The Elite Ayrshire Business Circle

Tuesday, 22 November 2016

Transformational plans unveiled 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 unveiled. The new masterplan for the Ayr Riverside Block has been submitted to South Ayrshire Council by Ayr Renaissance.

Known as the Riverside Block between the medieval “Auld Brig” and the Victorian “New Bridge", the plans include sweeping away the massive retail stores which have blocked access to the river since the 1960s and the creation of landscaped public realm alongside a festival building and an elegant new waterfront for the town.

The masterplan presents a vision for a mixed development which could include 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.  

Ayr Renaissance chairman James Knox said: “The balance of the development depends on the added value created by the quality of the architecture, the welcome to the public afforded by the originality and openness of the plan and the content of the public realm. Getting these right is the key to unlocking long-term regeneration of the town centre for generations to come.” 

The masterplan has been 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.

James Knox said: “This brilliant masterplan offers a once in a generation opportunity to bring back bustle, business and public enjoyment to the heart of Ayr. Decades of blight could be swept away, views of the Auld Brig and the Town Hall revealed, with the riverside site in line to become a magnet for the local community and visitors alike.”

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.

The masterplan serves as the basis for the planning application submitted by Ayr Renaissance to enable demolition of most of the riverside block which is in a conservation area. The evolution of the masterplan included two public consultation days and two peer review workshops run by Architecture and Design Scotland. Tenders for the demolition have been issued to ensure a start can be made on site provided the necessary consents are granted.

The application is due to be considered by South Ayrshire Council in early 2017. If planning approval is granted, existing buildings would be demolished, with an archaeological dig to follow across the whole site to uncover the secrets of medieval Ayr.

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

Monday, 21 November 2016

Two December meetings at Ayr Racecourse

By: Iain Ferguson

AYR Racecourse stages two December meetings this year – on Monday 5 December and Monday 19 December.

Both are six race cards, with the first of the fixtures featuring the Chase, a novices’ limited handicap over two miles five furlongs, which should see some younger horses setting out on their chasing careers.

There is also a two and a half mile novices’ hurdle to open the card at 12.40pm, while the action ends at 3.20pm with a national hunt flat race over two miles.

The December 19 meeting – Christmas Party Raceday – is highlighted with the Watch Racing UK Today Just £10 Handicap Hurdle over two miles five furlongs with £10,000 in the prize fund.

The main supporting race is a three mile handicap hurdle which is a qualifier for the Challenger Staying Hurdle Series Final. For more information on racing at Ayr or to book tickets go online at or call 01292 264179.

Issued by Iain Ferguson on behalf of Ayr Racecourse. 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.

Friday, 18 November 2016

Kilmarnock entrepreneur Marie Macklin named as Female Business Leader of the Year

Business and social entrepreneur Marie Macklin CBE has been named as BQ Female Business Leader of the Year for 2016 in the Scottish Business Awards.

Marie (pictured above) is owner and executive chair of Macklin Enterprise Partnership, a recently formed holding company building a diverse portfolio of entrepreneurial businesses and investment funds.

On receiving the prestigious award, Marie said: “I’m thrilled to have received this award. I’m passionate about helping to create and grow strong, international businesses from Scotland and helping to make this the most entrepreneurial society in the world.”

Marie seeks to invest in entrepreneurs and their businesses, directly through her own resources and investment funds. She seeks opportunities with organisations such as E-spark, Entrepreneurial Scotland, LINC Scotland, private and public investors and business angel organisations.

Behind Marie’s decision to create Macklin Enterprise Partnerships is her inherent passion for a strong Scottish economy. She uses her experience and knowledge to inspire and nurture talented young and aspirational people and fledgling businesses such as online booking specialist Appointedd, and fashion shopping app Mallzee, who value practical business advice and guidance. 

Macklin Enterprise Partnership invests through special-purpose funds created and managed with like-minded third parties. Marie takes the lead in identifying potential partners and providing start-up and management advice to selected entrepreneurs.

Wherever practical, she seeks to take a position of non-executive director of invested companies in order to ensure close engagement and scrutiny of business performance.

Wednesday, 16 November 2016

Chevron establish Centre of Excellence and create 82 jobs at Prestwick Airport

Scottish Cabinet Secretary for the Economy, Jobs and Fair Work Keith Brown today (Wednesday 16 November) announced Manchester-based Chevron Aircraft Maintenance Ltd is to establish a world-class centre of excellence for aircraft engineering, maintenance and training at Glasgow Prestwick Airport.

[Pictured: Councillor Bill McIntosh, Leader of South Ayrshire Council, joins the Minister and guests at the Chevron hangar at Prestwick Airport.] 

The £8.5 million investment will lead to the creation of up to 82 new jobs in Scotland, of which 67 are highly specialised and skilled positions. The company expect to increase turnover from £9.6m in 2016 to £19m by 2021. 

Today the Cabinet Secretary met the first newly recruited member of staff while given a tour of the Hangar 747 where Chevron is now located. Simon Yeardley a Project Engineer originally from Ayrshire has worked in England since 2012, but this job has allowed him to move back home and fulfil his career aspirations.

The Chevron announcement is the first major success for South Ayrshire Council's inward investment programme – Invest South Ayrshire. The Council has worked closely and innovatively with Chevron, from initial enquiry, highlighting the opportunities at Prestwick, and assisting the company to secure a solution tailored to their specific needs.

Supported by a Regional Selective Assistance grant of £2 million from Scottish Enterprise, the project, which will be operational early 2017, is being undertaken in response to increased customer and market demand. It will support Chevron to now deliver a variety of services that it is technically qualified to do but has previously had to borrow airline facilities to complete.

Glasgow Prestwick Airport provides a large, bespoke space for Chevron's increased line maintenance support operations that will include:

an EASA 145 approved Maintenance Repair and Overhaul (MRO) hangar facility
on-site engine, office and workshop facilities, as well as an EASA Part 147 approved Training School
a Freighter Conversion Programme for the BAE Systems Regional Aircraft
a state-of-the art and environmentally friendly Aircraft and Engine Recycling facility for aircraft decommissioning
finally, a commercial aircraft for Care & Maintenance programmes contributing to the training and further development of the Airport's talented workforce.

Economy Secretary Keith Brown said: "I am delighted to welcome the news that Chevron Aircraft Maintenance Limited will establish an aircraft engineering, maintenance and training regional centre of excellence at Glasgow Prestwick Airport.

"The company's investment, which is being supported by our economic development agency Scottish Enterprise, underlines their commitment to Scotland, and is great news for the local Ayrshire economy. This development will bring many new and highly skilled jobs to the Prestwick area.  I wish the team every success with the new venture and look forward to hearing of their achievements."

Chevron Aircraft Maintenance managing director Mr Neil Morris said: "This is a very important project to us, and we have greatly valued the support we have received from Scottish Enterprise in helping us achieve this investment. The airport is in an excellent location at the midway point of the Great Circle Route, making it a convenient stop off point for the many aircraft that have existing flight planning over the airport. The facility will enable the Chevron Group to handle a large range of aircraft, and we hope that we can offer additional benefits to Glasgow Prestwick's existing customer base across passenger, cargo, military, executive and general aviation including training through providing them with MRO and supporting services.

"Over the last 3 months we have worked closely with the airport team to promote the facility, beginning by exhibiting the new capability at last month's MRO Europe Amsterdam Conference – raising industry interest in the availability of MRO capability, resulting in with two aircraft operators contracting maintenance from January to April 2017."

Councillor Bill McIntosh, Leader of South Ayrshire Council said: "Our ability to meet Chevron's needs and present a robust and confident case for Prestwick as a suitable home for the company has well and truly paid dividends for everyone involved and boosts our reputation as the natural home of aerospace and space even further. It's also a prime example of what we can offer through our Invest South Ayrshire programme and I'm confident that Chevron is only the first of many companies that we will support to achieve a bigger and brighter future."

Scottish Development International managing director Paul Lewis said: "Today's investment is a fantastic boost to the aviation engineering industry in Scotland, which is an ideal location for Chevron's centre of excellence. Chevron will now join the many international investors who benefit from our competitive business environment, strong skills base and effective support network, which help make Scotland the top performing location for inward investment after London. We look forward to supporting Chevron's ambitious growth plans and wish them every success."

Glasgow Prestwick Airport is an ideal location for Chevron as it is already home to a cluster of key players in the aerospace industry including: GE Caledonian, Spirit Aerosystems, UTC Aerospace Systems (formerly Goodrich), BAE Systems, Ryanair and Woodward Aircraft Engineering Systems. At the Airport the company will have access to a pool of highly skilled and qualified personnel, along with an established programme of training support provided by local Universities and Further Education Colleges. 

Glasgow Prestwick Airport chief executive officer Ron Smith said: "The newly formed leadership team at the airport is delighted to welcome Chevron to Glasgow Prestwick Airport and the wider Prestwick Aerospace campus. This is the first major new business that this team has secured, and we see this as a building block on the way to delivering a profitable and sustainable airport for the long term.

"Chevron will bring in additional revenue for us through this lease but we also hope that this will provide us with an additional selling point for passenger and cargo airlines and other aviation customers including executive, military and general aviation to operate services to and from Glasgow Prestwick Airport.

"We will be working closely with Chevron to offer our support to help them build their business – their success will bring us success. This partnership working starts now with providing assistance to get the facility up and running in time to receive aircraft at the turn of the year. This assistance includes partnering with them to host a recruitment event this coming weekend in our main terminal building to help them fill these exciting new roles."

Chevron will be offering an "Employment Roadshow" for the 18 & 19 November at the Aviator Suite within Prestwick Terminal building where local people will be able to find out about what employment opportunities are on offer with more detail of the company.

Wednesday, 9 November 2016

Elite Ayrshire Business Circle congratulates Donald Trump

The Elite Ayrshire Business Circle has sent its congratulations to Donald Trump on his winning the election for President of the United States of America.

Elite Ayrshire Business Circle executive chairman Norman Geddes 9pictured above) said: “Trump Turnberry is one of our Founder Members, and has been a strong supporter of the Circle and its activities for many years.

“The Circle’s Annual Summer Luncheon at Trump Turnberry is now an important date in the Ayrshire business calendar, and one to which our members look forward every year.

“We have warmly welcomed the considerable investment made in Turnberry by the Trump Organisation, which has already resulted in widely welcomed improvements both to the Hotel and to the golf courses, and also the creation of many new local jobs.

“We can now look forward to the possibility of Open Golf returning to Turnberry in the not too distant future.

“It was an exciting night watching the election results unfold in America, and we in the Elite Ayrshire Business Circle would like to send our warmest congratulations to Mr Trump on his success.”

Friday, 4 November 2016

Buyer competition strengthens Ayrshire property market, reports CKD Galbraith

Scotland’s leading independent property consultancy CKD Galbraith is reporting healthy levels of buyer activity across Ayrshire, resulting in a steady increase in property sales.

Buyers from across Scotland have driven property sales throughout Ayrshire, resulting in a 17% increase during the third quarter of 2016 (July – September) compared to the previous quarter, according to the firm’s Ayr office.

Bob Cherry (pictured above), head of residential sales at CKD Galbraith’s Ayr office, said: “We are experiencing high levels of activity amongst Ayrshire residents who are choosing to either up-size or are relocating to more rural properties which offer excellent value for money. We have also witnessed an upsurge in interest from buyers outside the region, including buyers from Glasgow and Lanarkshire, who are attracted to the high calibre homes and value for money that the Ayrshire property market presents.

“The time taken by our team to sell properties during the third quarter has also decreased significantly. One particularly quick sale was Shield House (pictured above) by Cumnock, which sold within 19 days of appearing on the property market.

“Accurate and sensitive pricing remains vital to ensuring a property generates interest, and ultimately a number of competitive offers. Well-presented properties in the £300,000 - £400,000 bracket continue to produce the highest level of buyer activity, as well as rural properties with a few acres of land, which remain extremely popular throughout Ayrshire as a lifestyle choice.”

CKD Galbraith operates a network of regional offices located throughout the country, and figures for the firm as a whole during the third quarter of 2016 illustrates its ability to market and sell high quality houses drawing buyers from across the UK and beyond.

The firm has reported a 30% increase in the volume of sales achieved compared to the previous quarter of 2016. Local buyers from across Scotland accounted for 58% of sales during the third quarter, whilst 37% came from across the rest of the UK and 5% were international buyers.

CKD Galbraith 
7 Killoch Place 
Ayr KA7 2EA 
Ayrshire, Scotland 

Contact: R A Cherry BSc MRICS 
Tel: 01292 268181 
Fax: 01292 292300 

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

Thursday, 3 November 2016

Ayr Racecourse wins two awards in one week

By: Iain Ferguson

AYR Racecourse has won many awards over the years, but to gain two in the space of seven days is way above par for the course.

But that is what happened this week.

Firstly, Ayr was named as one the top six large racecourses in the country for owners and awarded the Racehorse Owners Association Gold Standard status for the second year in a row.

ROA representatives visited every track in Britain at least once to assess all aspects of the raceday experience for owners. In addition, feedback was provided by hundreds of ROA members following their racecourse visits.

The six large courses awarded Gold Standard were Ayr, Ascot, Chester, Haydock Park, Cheltenham and York.

Ayr Racecourse managing director David Brown said: “I am delighted that we have retained the ROA Gold Standard and remain one of only six large racecourses to be given the accolade.

“We strive to deliver the best experience possible for owners, and to receive recognition like this is very rewarding.”

Racecourses are divided into two categories – large and small – with their classification decided by a range of factors, including the quality of racing and attendance figures. The six tracks in each category that were considered to provide owners with the best raceday experience will hold the Award for the next 12 months.

One racecourse from each section will be named as their respective category’s ‘Racecourse of the Year’ at the annual ROA Horseracing Awards to be held in London on Thursday 1 December.

Top award for Ayr Racecourse chef de cuisine Paul

And also this week, Ayr Racecourse and Western House Hotel chef de cuisine Paul Cuthbert was named the 2016 Catering Personality of the Year at the National Racecourse Catering Awards.

Paul was unable to attend the event held earlier this month at Doncaster Racecourse and was presented with his award and a magnum of champagne by Ayr Racecourse managing director David Brown at the course on Saturday (pictured above).

A delighted Paul said: “This is not just for me but for the entire kitchen staff. It is a real team effort and I thrilled for us all to win this.”

Ayr Racecourse managing director David Brown added: “It is a great honour for Paul and the team at Ayr Racecourse and Western House Hotel that he has been recognised in this way.

“The National Racecourse Catering Awards are very prestigious within the industry and this is a great accolade.”

Paul has spent more than 34 years preparing sumptuous food and picking up award after award in doing so.

On leaving school he began working in various hotels in and around Ayrshire and has built up a reputation over the years as a chef who specialises in catering for large functions.

Over his many years in the catering industry Paul has won a plethora of awards include three Scot Hots, a Gold Medal at the Culinary Olympics in 2000 and National Chef of the Year Awards in 1994, 1996 and 1998.

He worked for many years for Celtic Football Club before joining Ayr Racecourse and Western House Hotel in 2009, as head chef, becoming chef de cuisine in 2014.

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, 27 October 2016

CKD Galbraith offers for sale delightful rural bungalow in South Ayrshire

Leading independent Scottish property consultancy CKD Galbraith is offering for sale Glenburn Cottage, a rural bungalow pleasantly situated about three miles outside the pretty village of Kirkmichael.  

The cottage was once a tearoom and shop selling fishing and shooting equipment, but was granted change of use to residential in 2005.  The property was built in 1985 and extended more recently adding a sun room.

Internally the cottage is modern and deceptively spacious with three good sized bedrooms all with fitted wardrobes and lovely views over the surrounding countryside.

The kitchen is modern and fitted with a range of oak wall and base units.  

The dining room lies adjacent to the kitchen and has polished oak floor.  A door leads through to the sun room which is bright and airy and is warmed by a log burning stove.  

A bathroom and shower room complete the accommodation.

The gardens of Glenburn Cottage extend to an acre and half with plenty of parking and a level lawn at the rear.  

There is a small pond which is regularly visited by wildlife, raised beds for home grown vegetables and a variety of fruit trees.  

The gardens are extensive enough to fence a section for grazing if required.

Offers Over £195,000 are being sought.

PDF available on

CKD Galbraith 
7 Killoch Place 
Ayr KA7 2EA 
Ayrshire, Scotland 

Contact: R A Cherry BSc MRICS 
Tel: 01292 268181 
Fax: 01292 292300 

About CKD Galbraith

CKD Galbraith is an independent property consultancy employing 225 staff in offices across Scotland - including Edinburgh, Stirling, Perthshire, 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. The partnership also enjoys a successful relationship with its associate firm CKD Kennedy Macpherson.

To find out more about CKD Galbraith visit

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

Wednesday, 19 October 2016

Political uncertainty still hampering Scottish construction market

The Scottish construction sector is experiencing a slowdown in growth, as Brexit and referendum uncertainty continues to cause concern, according to the latest Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) Construction Market Survey,

A net balance of 3% more chartered surveyors reported that construction workloads in the UK had risen, rather than fallen this quarter, although slightly stronger than the balance of -2% posted last quarter, it is a significant slowdown on the trend growth over the previous three years.

Private housing saw the fastest rate of growth compared to other construction sectors, with 15% more chartered surveyors reporting workloads had risen rather than fallen.  Both the private commercial and infrastructure sectors in Scotland saw a drop in construction activity during Q3.

Across the UK, the Midlands remains the engine of growth in UK construction, with 30% more respondents reporting a rise in activity, while London and the South East have seen growth levels moderate significantly due largely to a slowdown in activity in the private commercial sector.

In the Scottish private industrials sector, 9% more contributors reported a rise rather than a fall in workloads, meanwhile, activity in the public housing sector remained flat.

Looking further ahead, respondents predict generally subdued growth for the Scottish construction sector over the year to come, with 7% more respondents forecasting a rise in workloads rather than a fall. On average, contributors expect activity to rise by 2.5% over the next twelve months across the UK as a whole.

Despite the slowdown in activity, expectations for employment growth in Scotland have improved with 21% more respondents forecasting a rise rather than a fall, up from 11% in Q2.

However, both workload and employment expectations are still lower than pre-Q2 levels and anecdotal evidence from respondents suggests that uncertainty relating of the UK’s future relationship with Europe is still causing them concern regarding their future workloads.

In Q3, financial constraints remain the most significant impediment to growth throughout the UK, anecdotally linked to uncertainty, with 69% of contributors reporting such constraints to be holding back growth. Planning and regulatory delays are the next most substantial factor with 55% of respondents citing problems in this area.

RICS chief economist Simon Rubinsohn commented: “The picture painted by the Q3 survey is one of subdued growth, and although expectations have improved following the immediate shock of the vote to leave the EU, anecdotal evidence from respondents suggests that much uncertainty still remains on the outlook for the year ahead”

Sunday, 16 October 2016

Elite Ayrshire Business Circle NEXT MEETING

The next (FREE) business breakfast networking meeting of the Elite Ayrshire Business Circle will take place at 8am on Friday 4 November at the University of the West of Scotland’s Ayr Campus.

In addition to providing another excellent opportunity to network with other leading business people, this meeting will feature a symposium surveying the political and economic landscape in Scotland post-Brexit and (possibly) prior to IndyRef2.

Speakers will include Gordon MacIntyre-Kemp, CEO of Business for Scotland, and Matt Frew and Alan Murray of the University of the West of Scotland.

Complimentary buffet breakfast refreshments will be served.

This is an Open Meeting, so as well as members and their guests, all interested business people from across Ayrshire who wish to attend will be made most welcome.

To book your places, please RSVP to or TEXT 07833 667322.

The Elite Ayrshire Business Circle
Norman Geddes (Executive Chairman)
Murdoch MacDonald (Managing).