Tuesday, 6 May 2008
South Ayrshire Council gives Ayr Racecourse plans the green light
By: Iain Ferguson
AMBITIOUS plans to turn Ayr Racecourse into not only one of the top racecourses in Europe but also one of the most prestigious leisure destinations in the country have been approved by South Ayrshire Council.
The multi-million pound development includes a conference centre, cinema, new bar, restaurant, housing and retail units - and work could start as early as the autumn.
Councillors unanimously agreed that the exciting and ambitious plans would be of huge economic and social benefit to the town as well as putting Ayr on the map both as one of the premier horseracing venues in Scotland – and in Europe.
Speaking after approval was granted yesterday, Chair of the Regulatory Panel on South Ayrshire Council, Councillor Nan McFarlane said: “I’m absolutely delighted these plans have been approved. South Ayrshire Council has worked hard with Ayr Racecourse to agree a modern, dynamic and landmark building.”
During the meeting, councillors were shown plans and drawings of the proposed development (see above and below) that also includes a racing academy, museum, hotel and casino.
Councillor McFarlane continued: “The new building will have a sweeping front, with curves designed to mimic the sea. New car parking, covered walkways and landscaping will provide guests with a real sense of arrival, making a visit to the races and Ayr a truly memorable occasion.”
Councillor Hugh Hunter, Leader of South Ayrshire Council said: “I warmly welcome the news that this proposal has been approved. Ayr Racecourse is important to Ayr, and I am pleased that a conference centre is a key development among the many exciting projects planned.
“There are clear economic and social benefits that go with Ayr being positively promoted as a conference town. I am keen to see this happen and to maximise that potential for all residents in South Ayrshire.”
Ayr Racecourse chairman Alan Macdonald commented: “This is great news, not only for Ayr Racecourse but for the racing industry as a whole.
“Richard Johnstone and I bought the course almost five years ago and have already spent millions upgrading facilities. Now this planning approval means we can finish what we have started and firmly establish Ayr as one of the best in Europe.”
Last month a new £4.5 million Grandstand Sports Bar and a new Owners Bar were opened at the course and on non-race days Ayr Racecourse is building a reputation as a top conference centre, and will host the Scottish Conservative Party conference later this month.
Ayr is now also known as a concert venue, and rock legends Status Quo will headline Burns Rock At The Racecourse there on Sunday May 24.
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