The Elite Ayrshire Business Circle

The Elite Ayrshire Business Circle

Monday, 14 January 2019

MPs asked to dismiss UK Government's Brexit options

Letter calls for MPs to support new referendum on 
EU membership in 'crucial week for future of Scotland.'

Constitutional Relations Secretary Michael Russell is writing to all MPs setting out steps the Scottish Government believes must be taken to protect both Scotland and the UK from the UK Government's Brexit deal and a no deal outcome.


Mr Russell (pictured above) said the views of the people of Scotland, the Scottish Parliament and Scottish Government should not be ignored and has detailed four key decisions MPs will face in the week ahead.

Mr Russell said: "This will be a crucial week for the future of Scotland but I urge MPs not to think just of the days to come but of the generations to come.

"The UK Government's Brexit deal will take Scotland out of the EU against our will. It will make us poorer, diminish our rights and damage opportunities for future generations.

"The Scottish Government is today setting out our view of the steps that have to be taken this week, to protect Scotland and the UK from the disaster of both the UK Government's bad Brexit deal and a no deal outcome. 

"Four decisions need to be made: MPs should vote against no deal; they should vote against the Prime Minister's deal; the EU should be asked to extend Article 50 deadline to stop the UK crashing out in March; and, MPs should come together to support a new referendum on EU membership.

"Throughout this process, the Scottish Government has offered to work with others to soften the blow of Brexit but our offers of compromise have been dismissed by the UK Government.

"I am now writing to all members of the House of Commons setting out the Scottish Government's view of the way forward and our analysis of the damage the UK Government's deal will do to Scotland.

"If the UK is a genuine partnership of nations it is essential that the views of the people of Scotland, the Scottish Parliament and Scottish Government are taken seriously, and not ignored, when the vote on the UK Government's deal takes place on Tuesday."


Tuesday, 1 January 2019

Ayr Racecourse and Stagecoach team up on 2 January to get you to the races

By: Iain Ferguson

ALL roads lead to Ayr Racecourse tomorrow 2 January, when the course stages its traditional New Year Raceday featuring seven exciting races.


And those attending needn’t worry about how to get to and from the track as Stagecoach will be operating services on the day including the ever popular X77 Express from Glasgow to Ayr which will run hourly from 8.55am until 17.55pm.

And after racing Stagecoach will run a shuttle service from the racecourse for those meeting the last two X77 services between Ayr Bus Station and Buchanan Bus Station in Glasgow. Shuttles will leave at 4:30pm and 5:30pm from Ayr Racecourse to Ayr Bus Station to meet the X77.

To help racegoers have an even better day Stagecoach are also promoting a special ticket for groups of four. While those travelling individually will pay £12 return, groups of up to four can buy a dayrider for only £24.

Links to Stagecoach Festive timetables can be found CLICK HERE 

New Year Raceday is one of the highlights of the jumps season at Ayr and the first race is due off at 12.30pm.

The feature race is a Class 3 2m 5f handicap hurdle with £15,800 in prize-money – the richest jumps prize of the day in the UK.

The main supporting contests are a 2m handicap chase and a 2m novices’ hurdle with the latter won in January last year by the highly rated Better Getalong from the Nicky Richards yard.

Gates are open at 11.00am with the action concluding with a national hunt flat race at 3.45pm.

And after racing DeVille will play in the Princess Royal Suite in the Club area for three hours with a DJ in the Ayrshire Suite.

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.


Monday, 31 December 2018

South Ayrshire Council on target for over 1,000 affordable homes by 2021

South Ayrshire Council is working with partners to deliver approximately 1,000 new affordable homes across South Ayrshire by 2021.


[Pictured: Affordable housing at Elba Gardens in Ayr.]

The Strategic Housing Investment Plan (SHIP) outlines that Scottish Government funding of around £62.5 million for 2019-2023, will be used along with Council and private sector funding to complete the ambitious housing programme.

By the end of March next year, 231 high quality affordable will have been built by the Council and partners with even more energy efficient accommodation set to appear across South Ayrshire, in the high demand areas of Ayr, Prestwick and Troon but also in more rural locations.

There is a commitment from the Council and Registered Social Landlords to continue to work with partners such as the Health and Social Care Partnership to ensure affordable housing meets the needs of older people as well as those with learning disabilities, mental health issues and people leaving the care sector.

Other priorities for new and refurbished housing, includes helping tenants to reduce their energy bills through the use of energy efficient cladding and insulation.

Councillor Philip Saxton, Housing and Community Wellbeing Portfolio Holder said: "We are continuing to work with our partners to provide quality homes across South Ayrshire that meet the needs of tenants. This investment is not just in our towns, we are actively engaging with rural communities to assess their housing needs as well.

“We were recently recognised by the Scottish Empty Homes Partnership for our work to buyback ex Council houses so they could be refurbished for existing tenants, so it’s also about making the best use of existing housing stock too. I am confident we will meet this challenging target by 2021."

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


Monday, 17 December 2018

Ayrshire Wedding Show 2019 at Ayr Racecourse

By Iain Ferguson

THE biggest and best Wedding Show in Ayrshire – the Ayrshire Wedding Show – will be held at Ayr Racecourse on Saturday 26 January and Sunday 27 January 2019.


First held in 2006, the event is now firmly established as not only the best in Ayrshire but one of the must attend shows for brides and grooms to be and their families in Scotland.

More than 80 exhibitors will on hand covering every aspect of a wedding, with florists, videographers, wedding photographers, pipers, jewellers, wedding cars and much more.

And a long-standing feature of the Ayrshire Wedding Show is the Catwalk Shows which take place on both days, with models showcasing stunning bridal wear. There are three shows each day which are always very popular with the crowds who attend the Show.

There are still stands available for exhibitors, but these are limited, so early booking is advised.

There will also be a band showcase featuring some leading wedding bands.

Opening times are 10.00am – 4.00pm both days and tickets are £5.50 for each day and there is a special price of £18 for four tickets if booked and paid for before 16 January. For tickets and info call 01292 264179 or visit 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.


A Christmas message from South Ayrshire Provost Helen Moonie


At the end of the year, I always like to look back and reflect on some of the people I have met and events I have attended in communities across South Ayrshire.

Recently we remembered those that have made the ultimate sacrifice in times of war. 2018 marked 100 years since the end of the First World War and commemorations took place in towns and villages across South Ayrshire.

One of the most inspirational projects was our poppy banner which featured over 4,100 knitted, crocheted and handmade poppies. I would like to thank everyone who got behind the campaign; all your work was very much appreciated.

For the first time ever, the Wallace Tower in Ayr was bathed in red light and Ayr Beach was covered in sand drawings depicting soldiers who lost their lives from 1914-1918.

The Royal Air Force was born during the First World War and I attended a service at the memorial near Turnberry to remember the allied pilots who used to train there. I also attended the unveiling of the latest carving at Rozelle Remembrance Woodland - a spitfire which also recognises South Ayrshire’s strong links with the RAF.

We welcomed home local soldiers from the 2nd Battalion, the Royal Regiment of Scotland following their six month tour of Iraq, South Sudan and Cyprus. There was a great turnout for the troops and I know how much they appreciated the support.

During the summer we received thirty peace seeds originating from 'A-bombed' gingko trees in the Japanese city of Hiroshima to commemorate the people that died there towards the end of the Second World War. These seeds have germinated and in time will be planted across South Ayrshire to symbolise peace, friendship and hope.

Young people from all our secondary schools took part in the annual Provost's Footprint Challenge. This year we had joint winners with Southcraig School and Kyle Academy coming top of the class with their innovative environmental projects.

Schools and young people were involved as we celebrated Commonwealth Day and the importance of working together to create a better future. Once again this year we also raised the importance of LBGT rights and lent our support to International Women's Day.

Part of my role as Provost it to welcome visitors who come to South Ayrshire from across the globe. This year we greeted two French delegations one from Torcy in northern France twinned with Girvan and one from Villeneuve Sur Lot twinned with Troon with both South Ayrshire towns celebrating an incredible thirty years of friendship with their Gallic counterparts. It was also great to see young people from St Germain en laye take part in a rugby tournament with their twin town of Ayr.

We continue to build relationships with countries even further afield such as China, we already have a well-established educational exchange programme and many of our primary schools now teach Mandarin. Celebrating Chinese New Year is always a welcome addition to our calendar and this year we also greeted a delegation from Liaocheng City in China who were here to discuss potential investment opportunities and explore new cultural connections.

It was a celebration of all things Polish as we joined with our Polish friends to mark Poland’s centenary year. We also welcomed the Indian Consul General to South Ayrshire as part of the International Day of Yoga.

There have been lots of charity events again this year particularly involving the Ayrshire Hospice who is currently the Council’s main supported charity. Young people from Chernobyl in Ukraine were back again this year as part of a radioactive contamination respite project. We donated £5,000 to the South Ayrshire Dementia Support Association (SADSA) a charitable organisation providing specialist day care seven days a week for those diagnosed with dementia. 

Prestwick is leading the way when it comes to being Dementia friendly and I was in Sainsbury’s in the town to highlight the opening of a checkout where staff are on hand to help people with Dementia.

I’m also a great supporter of veterans charities such as Scotland’s Bravest which is a printing company based in Erskine supporting veterans in learning new skills.

Achievements of a sporting kind were celebrated at a special civic reception at Ayr Town Hall. We looked back on World records, historic league title wins, and gold-medal winning performances as we honoured ten South Ayrshire sportspeople and clubs who made 2018 their own.

Throughout the year the Depute Provost and I have been celebrating with couples marking special wedding anniversaries and we have also been present for some 100th birthday celebrations too.

Christmas is a time of giving but it’s also a time to remember those that struggle during the festive season, a quick visit to an elderly neighbour living on their own can make all the difference. It’s these small acts of kindness that make Christmas special.

I’d like to wish you all a very merry Christmas and a happy New Year.

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


Sunday, 16 December 2018

New Year Raceday at Ayr Racecourse

By Iain Ferguson

A New Year of racing action at Ayr gets under way with the traditional New Year Raceday on Wednesday 2 January 2019, and the card features seven exciting races.

The principal race is a Class 3 2m 5f handicap hurdle with £15,800 in prizemoney – the richest jumps prize of the day in the UK.


This should ensure a good-sized field with many of the leading northern stables likely to be represented. The last running of this contest was won by Elusive Theatre (pictured above) trained in Ireland by Stuart Crawford.

The main supporting contests are a 2m handicap chase and a 2m novices’ hurdle with the latter won in January this year by the highly rated Better Getalong from the Nicky Richards yard.

Gates are open at 1.00am with the first race on the day at 12.30pm with the action concluding with a national hunt flat race at 3.45pm.

And after racing a live band will play in the Princess Royal Suite in the Club area for three hours with a dj in the Ayrshire Suite.

For more information on racing at Ayr 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.


Friday, 14 December 2018

Christmas message from Douglas Campbell, Leader of South Ayrshire Council


2018 has been a year of major change for the Council with our priorities to deliver first class public services measured against a continued challenging economic backdrop. It was the year that we made significant changes to the way the Council runs, with our management review streamlining services, to help cut down on bureaucracy and free up our staff to enhance the way they work to deliver improvements to our communities.

Importantly, we now operate with a primary focus on our people and places and there are already clear signs of positive progress.

For the economy, work to secure the £300million Ayrshire Growth Deal with the UK and Scottish Governments is well underway and we’re hoping for a firm commitment will soon be made to unlock Ayrshire’s potential alongside partners at East and North Ayrshire Councils. Watch this space.

We’ve also been working with local companies to help them bid for public sector work, with A1 Ironmongery and Radbury Glazing two recent success stories. This feeds in to our commitment to help companies maximise their impact. We’ve also re-launched our Ambition programme to help up and coming businesses to achieve growth and expand, and worked with a number of businesses to locate to South Ayrshire through Invest South Ayrshire.

We’re also taking forward plans to transform Ayr Town Centre and have been asking you to ‘Ayr Your Views’ on proposals including high-quality and attractive public spaces, a new town centre leisure facility, new housing adjacent to the High Street, and dedicated event and community areas. Further consultations will follow in 2019, providing you with more detail on agreed projects, including designs, costs and timescales.

During the Year of Young People we supported hundreds of young people through employability programmes such as Work Out! and through our partnership with Prince's Trust and Developing Young Workforce, with a new Rugby Coaching Academy the latest project to launch at Kyle Academy. The Duke of Edinburgh Awards scheme also remains very popular and combined with the work of our schools we are helping people from across the area to realise their potential.

We’re also committed to widening opportunities for people of all ages to engage in sport and physical activity to promote healthy lifestyles, through our Access to Leisure card which offers discounts of up to 50% on memberships and admission prices to our activity centres, pools, and golf courses. A pilot at Maybole Golf Course also let people try the sport for free as we look to attract a new generation to take up the sport as part of a much wider campaign.

Looking ahead, the coming year will doubtless bring fresh challenges and we know that balancing the books remains a real and pressing challenge, with more savings to be made. This year thousands of you got involved in a public consultation to highlight the areas you wanted to be treated as priority areas and we listened. Early next year we’ll be launching a new consultation and we need your help as we work to protect vital services while responding to the needs of our communities.

2018 has been a memorable year with lots to celebrate and I hope we can all enjoy the festive break. I would like to take this opportunity to wish you a Merry Christmas and a happy New Year.

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


Sunday, 9 December 2018

Ayr Racecourse one of 8 UK tracks selected as venues for new horse racing championship series next year

By: Iain Ferguson

AYR is one of eight leading racecourses in Scotland, Ireland and England handpicked to stage ‘The Series’ – a dynamic new addition to the flat racing calendar that will see branded teams compete in 48 races with more than £100k of prize money per race.


Championship Horse Racing (www.championshiphorseracing.com) has created The Series, which will debut at racecourses in three countries. The proposed courses are: Ayr, Epsom Downs, Goodwood, Haydock Park, Leopardstown, Newbury, Newmarket July Course and Sandown Park.

Fixtures are proposed to take place on eight consecutive Thursday evenings from 25 July to 12 September 2019. The fixtures that form The Series will be additional to the British Racing Fixture List and require the approval of the BHA.

Ayr is Scotland’s only Grade 1 track and is home to its most prestigious flat race meeting the William Hill Ayr Gold Cup festival. Ayr was crowned Sports Venue of the Year at the 2018 Scottish Hospitality awards and holds the accolade of being one of only six Large Racecourses to be awarded a Gold standard by the Racehorse Owners Association.

CHR chief executive Jeremy Wray said: “Agreeing the likely racecourse schedule is a key milestone for CHR. Over the next few months we’ll be announcing the teams and the media partners who will broadcast The Series across the world. 

“We’re delighted that The Series is due to take place at such a prestigious course as Ayr, and that Scotland is one the three countries we debut in. They are great locations and have superb facilities for summer evening racing that promises fans something they’ve never experienced before. Fans will be encouraged to engage with the teams and our aim is to help tell the stories about the tens of thousands of people involved in the sport.”

The Series will feature high profile teams and the biggest names in racing. Each team will comprise a racing manager, four jockeys and a squad of 30 horses. 

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, 25 November 2018

Update on works at former Station Hotel in Ayr

The works to complete the installation of the roof structure and appropriate protective measures around the dangerous building adjacent to Ayr train station were scheduled to get underway this weekend.


This will involve an extended period of overnight working, due to the need for trackside access outside of train services’ operating hours.

The overnight working got underway on Saturday 24 November and will continue until the conclusion of the works, which is expected to be around Friday 21 December – subject to suitable weather conditions.

Due to the use of a crane and additional lighting, as well as the works involved, there may be some overnight noise and disturbance from the construction site.

South Ayrshire Council Leader, Councillor Douglas Campbell, said: “While our contractors will do everything they can to minimise any noise or disruption from the site, we do appreciate the impact this may have and we’re very sorry for any inconvenience this may cause.

“We know that having to work overnight is far from ideal, but hope people understand that it’s necessary to address the public safety concerns at this dangerous building – in line with our statutory responsibilities – while working with our rail transport partners to maintain the current rail service.

“We have written out to residents and businesses in the vicinity of the train station to advise them of these necessary works and to ask them, in advance for their patience and co-operation. I would hope that would be forthcoming.”

7Updates regarding the dangerous building adjacent to Ayr train station can be found at www.south-ayrshire.gov.uk/station-building

Enquiries from local residents and businesses regarding the works and the impact on them can be directed to 0300 123 0900.

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


Sunday, 18 November 2018

Town centre regeneration - Ayr Your Views!

Local people are set to have their say on exciting Council proposals that will help transform Ayr town centre for many years to come.


The Council want the public to have their say on ideas which include high-quality and attractive public spaces, a new town centre leisure facility, new housing adjacent to the High Street, and dedicated event and community areas.

The Council is holding two consultation events in Ayr Town Hall on Tuesday 27 and Wednesday 28 November between 2:00pm and 7:30pm.

The proposals on show will complement the consultation work which has taken place so far and people will be able to discuss their views with Council Officers and have their say.

Councillor Brian McGinley, Economy and Culture Portfolio Holder for South Ayrshire Council, said: "We have some exciting ideas which will help boost the local economy and put Ayr and South Ayrshire on the map. Improving social, cultural and economic activities is key to this ambition.

“We need to know if we are moving in the right direction, which is why these ideas need to be discussed with the local community.

“If we all work together then we will have the right projects in place which will not only bring more people into Ayr town centre, but will give them a reason to stay and come back time and time again.”

As well as the consultation events, a short survey can be completed at south-ayrshire.gov.uk/ayr-your-views 

The deadline to complete the online survey is Friday 14 December at 5:00pm 

Information gathered from the consultation events and the online survey will be used to inform the decision-making process. The intention would be to hold further consultation events in the future providing more detail on agreed projects including designs, costs and timescales.

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


Tuesday, 13 November 2018

Ayr voted one of six best racecourses by ROA for fourth year in a row

By: Iain Ferguson

AYR Racecourse has been voted as one of the top six large racecourses in the country for racehorse owners for the fourth year in a row.


The accolade comes from the Racehorse Owners Association, the body that has represented racehorse owners for more than 70 years.

Joining Scotland’s premier track in the top six large racecourses to receive the ROA Gold Standard Award for 2018 are Ascot, Cheltenham, Chester, Haydock Park and York.

Ayr has now been awarded the Gold Standard every year since the inception of the new Award format in 2015.

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.

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

“To be given the Gold Standard for the fourth successive year is particularly pleasing, and reflects all the hard work and dedication and attention to detail we pride ourselves on reflecting the importance in which we hold racehorse owners.

“We are continually monitoring our raceday experience so we can continue to deliver the best experience possible for owners.”

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 6 December.

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, 28 October 2018

Frazer Coogans Commercial Solicitors and Christie Financial Planning jointly sponsor annual Ayr Art Exhibition in aid of Save the Children

Leading Ayrshire legal firm Frazer Coogans Commercial Solicitors has teamed up with Glasgow-based Christie Financial Planning to become joint sponsors of the annual Ayr Art Exhibition 2018.

The 25th Ayrshire Art Exhibition in aid of Save The Children opened again this year on Sunday 15 October after a preview day for invited guests on Saturday 14 October. The exhibition is held in the Maclaurin Galleries in the grounds of beautiful Rozelle House on the road out of Ayr to Alloway and will continue until 11 November.


Some 250 artists are exhibiting one or two of their paintings, and the ensemble makes for one of Scotland’s most attractive art exhibitions, with works of art for sale at over such a wide range of prices that there is always something to suit anyone’s pocket.

For a second year there are also Cameo Cards for sale. These unframed postcard-sized paintings proved very popular last year, and the entire proceeds go to support aid to children in Scotland. Very many of the artists donate these works entirely for charity, and devote many hours to create an extraordinary range of images that sell at a flat price of £50 each and, unlike the framed paintings on the wall, buyers can take these cards away with them. There are small frames to fit at only £10 each.

The exhibition runs for four weeks, and will be constantly attended by friendly and helpful members of the local Save The Children Committee who look after visitors and process sales.

A spokesperson for Save the Children said: “The exhibition has continued to grow every year and we’re excited to be celebrating our 25th anniversary.

“It’s become a really popular event and people travel from all over the country to attend and buy original art at an affordable price.

“We’re extremely grateful to the artists who have been so generous by donating pieces from their collections over the years.

“We would also like to thank The Maclaurin Galleries for their continued support and assistance, without which the exhibition would not be the successful event it is today.”

The money raised from the exhibition goes towards helping vulnerable children around the world as well as in Scotland and across the UK.

Frazer Coogans Commercial Solicitors' Managing Partner, Norman Geddes commented: “We are delighted to take this opportunity to support such a worthy cause as Save the Children, and to be involved in such a memorable and enjoyable event.”

Christie Financial Planning Ltd’s Director Paul Christie commented: “I cannot think of a more worthwhile charity to support. Save the Children Ayr and District Branch have an outstanding record of raising funds and everyone in our team is thrilled to assist them with their fundraising efforts. I am confident that the 2018 exhibition will be an outstanding success.”

The Save the Children Ayr Art Exhibition
The Maclaurin Galleries, Rozelle Park, Monument Road, Ayr.
Dates: 15 October – 11 November 2018
Time: Mon – Sat 10:00am – 4:30pm Sun 12:00pm – 4:30pm
Admission: Free

Frazer Coogans Commercial Solicitors is a Founder Member of the Elite Ayrshire Business Circle.