The Elite Ayrshire Business Circle

The Elite Ayrshire Business Circle

Saturday, 8 December 2007

Ayr retailers win awards for best Christmas shop window displays

SOUTH Ayrshire Council Provost Winifred Sloan has presented prizes to the winners of the Best Dressed Christmas Window in Ayr Independent Retailer and the winner of the Multiple Retailer section.

Provost Winifred Sloan said: “I would like to congratulate the staff of all the shops in Ayr who went to a lot of effort and spent time decorating their premises. Choosing the winners was a very difficult, although enjoyable task. I was delighted to present the trophies to the winners and runners-up, and hope that they inspire others to help make Ayr town centre colourful and full of festive fun at this special time of year.”

Richard Devine, A Picken & Sons Butchers won the trophy for Independent Retailer and Wendy Russell, World of Art was awarded the runner-up trophy.

The Kyle Centre in Ayr won the trophy the Multiple Trader class and it was presented to Dave Rose, Kyle Centre manager. Elaine Connell, manageress of Henderson’s was awarded the runner-up trophy.

In addition to the trophies, the winners will receive two patrons tickets for the 2008 Ayr Flower Show that were donated by the organisers of the Show. The winners will also receive tickets from the Council to see the pantomime at the Gaiety Theatre in Ayr.

The competition was supported by Ayr and Prestwick Lions, Ayr Retailers Committee, Ayr Rotary Club, Ayr Chamber of Commerce, Ayr Guildry and Ayr Flower Show.

Pictured outside A Picken & Sons Butchers who won Best Dressed Christmas Window Display Independent Trader 2007 are (left to right): John Walker, chairman of Ayr Flower Show; Provost Winifred Sloan; A Picken & Sons Butchers manager Richard Devine; John Kean, Ayr Rotary; and Stuart Hudson, Ayr and Prestwick Lions.

Pictured inside the World of Art who were runners-up in the Best Dressed Christmas Window Display Independent Trader 2007 are (left to right): John Kean, Ayr Rotary Club; Wendy Russell, World of Art; Provost Winifred Sloan; and John Walker, chairman of Ayr Flower Show.

Pictured in Ayr Kyle Centre, winner of the trophy for the Multiple Trader class of the Best Dressed Christmas Window Display 2007 are (left to right): John Walker, chairman of Ayr Flower Show; Provost Winifred Sloan; Dave Rose, manager of the Kyle Centre; Stuart Hudson, Ayr and Prestwick Lions; and Jim Young, Ayr and Prestwick Lions.

Pictured outside Hendersons’ are (left to right): John Walker, chairman of Ayr Flower Show; Provost Winifred Sloan; Hendersons’ manageress Elaine Connell; Stuart Hudson, Ayr and Prestwick Lions; and Jim Young, Ayr and Prestwick Lions.

Friday, 7 December 2007

£150m Auchincruive regeneration will
create 2000 new jobs in Ayrshire

AN OUTLINE planning application to invest up to £150million in the transformation of 300 hectares of Ayrshire land, bringing more than 2,000 jobs to the local community, has been lodged with South Ayrshire Council.

The proposed masterplan for the regeneration of the Scottish Agricultural College’s Auchincruive Estate, near Ayr, was lodged by joint applicants AWG Property - appointed by SAC to spearhead the redevelopment - and SAC.

The masterplan will see the redevelopment of listed Oswald Hall (pictured above) into a hotel and conference centre, an 18-hole championship golf course, equestrian centre and additional leisure and outdoor facilities.

The proposal will also see the creation of state-of-the-art business and research units, and a sensitively developed residential element, providing opportunities for individuals and families to both work and have access to leisure opportunities on-site. It is estimated that in total the project is likely to create over 2,000 jobs, and the value to the economy generated by the completed development is estimated to be £80m per annum.

The masterplan comes as part of the SAC's plans to transform its business and estates to meet the challenges of the 21st century, enabling reinvestment to provide state-of-the-art facilities and services in Ayrshire, including the development of Craigie Campus in Ayr. SAC will retain an element of research and business related functions at Auchincruive.

The phased transformation of the estate will take account of its rich natural and historic heritage, retaining a number of historic aspects of the site. The listed buildings located within the site boundary, including Oswald Hall, Oswald's Temple/Tea House, Wilson Hall (pictured above) and Gibbs Yard will be retained, sensitively refurbished, upgraded and reused for a variety of purposes. Important landscape features, such as the extensive woodland copses, ornamental gardens and the arboretum will be retained and restored, and in the case of the woodland areas, will be supplemented as necessary.

The estate is well used by the public for outdoor recreation purposes and as part of the overall development strategy, it is proposed that the existing network of car parks, footpaths, cycleways and bridleways be supplemented to improve public access.

AWG Property managing director Tony Donnelly said: “The proposed redevelopment of the stunning Auchincruive estate is extremely exciting and will create over 2,000 jobs, as well as considerably enhancing the local offering through a mix of commercial, residential and leisure opportunities.

“In finalising these proposals we were aware of the high regard in which the estate is held and, in conjunction with SAC, have ensured the masterplan is sympathetic to the site's rural character, taking into accounts its rich natural and historic heritage, while offering the best facilities.

“The strategy throughout the community engagement exercise undertaken was to ensure that all the key parties involved had the opportunity to feed into the process, and we have taken this input into account in developing a proposal which Ayrshire can be proud of.”

SAC chief executive Professor Bill McKelvey said: “Proposals for the regeneration of Auchincruive will not only secure a sustainable future for SAC in the south west of Scotland, but also help realise the full potential of the estate for the benefit of the local community in Ayrshire. We are pleased to be working in partnership with AWG to facilitate this development.

“The release of land at Auchincruive will enable us to invest in state-of-the-art facilities and services in south west Scotland, benefiting both students and clients. Our aim is to provide fit for purpose education and training services through developing partnerships with Higher and Further Education Institutions through securing appropriate modern facilities for staff and students. A major part of the SAC plan is to develop a joint Higher Education campus in partnership with University of Paisley at Craigie campus in Ayr. This planned development is important for the ongoing economic development of Ayrshire and will make a major contribution to the local community.”

[Picture shows the SAC's Ayr Campus at Auchincruive.]

The public will be able to view the proposed plans at Oswald Hall, Auchincruive; at Carnegie Library in Ayr High Street and on the SAC website at:

AWG Property was selected by SAC to develop a vision for the long term regeneration and use of the site following an exhaustive selection process during 2005.

The Concept Masterplan will provide a context for the future development of Auchincruive. Detailed design proposals will be formulated in discussions with South Ayrshire Council and other stakeholders such as Historic Scotland to ensure that a high quality living, working and leisure environment is achieved.

Should the proposals be agreed, it is agreed that work on site will commence in early 2009 and be completed in phases up until 2016.

The Auchincruive site is located on the B743 Ayr to Mauchline road about 3 miles inland from the centre of Ayr itself.

Wednesday, 5 December 2007

Saira Hayat’s Eastern Treasure boutique opens in George Street Ayr

WHEN a young Ayr lady decided to open her own shop recently, she could draw upon not only her own experience in the retail trade, but also that of her father.

The parents of Saira Hayat (24) came to this country from Pakistan almost 40 years ago and set up a grocer’s shop in Prestwick, which has now moved to Lochside in Ayr.

Saira went to Prestwick Academy, and then went on to obtain a diploma in Arts at Cardonald College in Glasgow, specialising in jewellery design and manufacture.

She originally intended to set up her own jewellery business, but deciding the market wasn’t quite right, she opted instead for working in various retail shops including The Changing Room and Monsoon, followed by a spell at the Royal Bank of Scotland.

At last this year Saira decided that the time had come for her to start out on her own, and she made out her business plan.

Her new boutique Eastern Treasure opened this month in George Street, Ayr, opposite TK Maxx, offering a wide and intriguing selection of merchandise from Asia, including dresses, tunics, pashminas, shoes, jewellery, bags, gifts and accessories.

Saira also offers a henna body art service which is unique in Ayr.

She is catering for all ages from youngsters to pensioners, and anything that she does not already have in stock can be sourced on request.

For more information telephone 01292 880082.

Tuesday, 4 December 2007

Children's flight to Lapland lifts off from Glasgow Prestwick Airport

CHILDREN from all over Scotland arrived at Glasgow Prestwick Airport in Ayrshire this morning set for a memorable visit to Lapland.

[Picture shows: Glasgow Prestwick Airport's Carrie Paterson and Gemma Rooney with six-year-old Keiran MacLean.]

Every year the charity When You Wish Upon A Star take planeloads of courageous youngsters who suffer from life threatening illnesses to meet the real Santa Claus.

And this morning the Nottingham-based charity took to the skies from Prestwick for the second time, after last year’s trip - their first from Scotland - was deemed a huge success.

An aircraft carrying 70 youngsters, family members and carers on board took off at 7am this morning and is due to return at 9.30pm tonight.

Also on board and tasked with keeping spirits high throughout the day were the BBC’s Jeremy Spake, who has close links with When You Wish Upon A Star, and Chico of X Factor fame.

[Picture shows: Chico seen with Keith & Kay Stephen and their six-year-old son Gregor.]

The trip allows the brave youngsters and their families to put their troubles aside for a short time, and Lapland has plenty to keep them occupied, with giant snowmen and sleigh rides with Rudolph and teams of huskies among the attractions.

The mood was best summed up by East Kilbride mum Tammi McManus who was travelling with her six-year-old son Anton, who was supposed to visit Lapland with the charity last year, but was unable to travel.

[Picture shows: Chico with six-year-old Anton McManus and mum Tammi.]

Tammi said: “It’s the brightest I have ever seen him at five in the morning!” and revealed that Anton had never been on a plane or seen ‘real’ snow.

Glasgow Prestwick Airport chief executive Mark Rodwell revealed that the airport agreed to waive the normal landing, handling and parking charges to show support for the charity, while those who travelled on the flight were given free car parking facilities.

Mark commented: “It was great to see the children and their families here this morning looking so excited. The charity behind this is a very worthwhile cause to support, as the children and their families have experienced some hard times.

“We hope this trip will bring some much-needed fun into their lives and a smile to their faces. The airport has done everything we can to help make their experience a happy one.”

Nuance, operators of the Tax and Duty Free store at Glasgow Prestwick Airport, and WH Smith both contributed to the goodie bags handed out by the airport, which also included a group photograph of everyone before they left.

SSP, who operate most of the airport’s food and beverage outlets, supplied refreshments, while check-in staff got into the spirit of things by dressing up as Elves.

[Picture shows: Children, families and carers ready for take-off.]

The charity hopes that this year’s trip will give the youngsters a massive boost, some priceless memories and, hopefully, put them firmly on the road to recovery.

Ayrshire Chamber of Commerce wins
Excellence in Membership Growth award

AYRSHIRE Chamber of Commerce has been awarded the award for Excellence in Membership Growth at this year’s national Chamber Awards. The award, sponsored by Composite Legal Expenses is given to the Chamber of Commerce that, in the opinion of the judges, has best committed to the growth of its membership by the provision of excellent services.

[Picture shows: Ayrshire Chamber deputy chief executive Valerie Russell, president Carolyn Elder, development manager Helen McBride and chief executive Bob Leitch.]

John Mullin, managing director of Composite Legal Expenses said: “Membership growth is what the Chambers are all about. A growing and retained membership points to a highly successful Chamber that is meeting (and probably exceeding) the needs of its membership. Ayrshire stood out amongst the competition for its achievements here along with its often unique and innovative approach. In Ayrshire members are often based in remote areas, so the Chamber has taken the opportunity of introducing an ‘e-membership pack’ and this has had the effect of attracting members and significantly reducing the Chamber’s carbon footprint. Also we were struck by how education and business have been linked by the Chamber through its full exploitation of an initiative called ‘Determined to Succeed’.”

Ayrshire Chamber of Commerce & Industry chief executive Bob Leitch said: “We are very proud our membership work at the Chamber and to receive this award. A Chamber is only as good as the members it has and its ability to attract new ones reflects this. By focusing on the delivery of high quality services and a commitment to continued innovation, we have managed to maintain a very healthy rate of growth and retention.”

The Chamber Awards were launched by the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) in 2004 to recognise and celebrate business excellence through the successes and achievements of its Accredited Chambers of Commerce and their members. More details on the awards and the individual winners can be found at

BCC director general David Frost said: “Membership growth follows continued innovation and commitment to meeting the needs of your local business community. Ayrshire set a standard that all Chambers could learn a great deal from. There was very tough competition for this award, but Ayrshire impressed the judges with the range and creativity of its approach to membership. Congratulations.”