Thursday, 4 December 2008
John Scott increases pressure for more frequent local rail service
Ayr MSP John Scott has stepped up his campaign to have a 20-minute rail service introduced between Ayr and Glasgow by raising the issue at Question Time in the Scottish Parliament this week.
[John Scott MSP (right) with South Ayrshire Councillor Peter Convery at Troon railway station.]
Mr Scott, who for several years has pressed successive Transport Ministers about the need for an increased service, believes that the improvement is needed to give a better standard of service to local commuters and to help businesses in the area, including Glasgow Prestwick Airport.
John Scott said: “The line between Ayr and Glasgow is one of the busiest commuter routes in Scotland, and I am convinced that the introduction of an additional service each hour, increasing the frequency of service to one every 20 minutes, would be a huge boost to our area.
“Many local people commute between Ayr, Prestwick, Troon and Glasgow on a daily basis, so it seems only sensible to look to further expand the use of rail as a convenient and environmentally-friendly means of transport locally.
“Another crucial consideration is the forecast of hugely increased passenger numbers using Glasgow Prestwick Airport over the next decade and the need, which was stressed in the airport’s new Masterplan, to improve local rail and road links. Prestwick Airport, many other local businesses, and Ayrshire as a whole would benefit greatly from a 20-minute rail service between Ayr and Glasgow.
“Although in his response to me the Transport Minister declined to give a firm commitment to supporting a 20-minute service, he did emphasise that he recognised the importance of surface access to airports. I therefore hope that during future discussions with representatives of the rail industry, he will bear in mind my own view, and that of Prestwick Airport, that a more frequent rail service on the Ayr to Glasgow line is needed.”
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Tuesday, 2 December 2008
Home Reports - new way of selling your house becomes law
FROM 1 December 2008, houses for sale in Scotland have to be marketed with a Home Report. The Home Report contains three documents, a Single Survey, an Energy Report and a Property Questionnaire. This is a new way for buying and selling properties in Scotland. The aim of the new law is to make buyers better informed about the property they are about to buy and assist them to make a more informed choice.
The Energy Report gives buyers an energy rating of the property on sale, showing how energy efficient the house is and gives them an opportunity to consider if they purchase the home would they wish to improve the energy efficiency of the home at a later date. The Energy report also gives potential buyers an idea on how much it may cost them to heat the property. Energy efficiency is a very important element considering the cost of fuel and the long-term environmental cost. The Property Questionnaire provides a whole range of answers to questions any potential buyer may wish to address before deciding whether to buy the property or not.
The law applies to anyone marketing a house from 1 December 2008. If the property has been on the market prior to that date, it is not subject to a Home Report. However, if the house is still on the market on 4 January 2009, then an Energy Performance certificate will be required.
The person responsible for making sure the house on sale has a Home Report is the person marketing the property who is also responsible for ensuring that a copy of the report is supplied to any prospective buyer that requests it. A seller can only refuse to provide a Home Report in limited circumstances. These include instances where the seller reasonably believes that the person making a request could not afford the house, has no real intention in buying the house, or that the person making the request is not a person the seller would wish to the sell the house to but this should not be on the grounds of unlawful discrimination.
The seller has to provide the home report free to a buyer but may decide to make a reasonable charge for photocopying or postage. The buyer’s request for a copy of the home report has to be met within a period of nine days. Failure to do so may be reported to Trading Standards who have been tasked with enforcing the law of Home Reports.
The Home Report should be no more than twelve weeks old when the house is placed on the market and if a house with a Home Report is withdrawn from the market for no more than 28 days, it won’t need a new Home report. The cost of a Single Survey or Energy report is set by the different surveying Companies and sellers are advised like in any other transaction to shop around and to consider different quotes before agreeing to a set price.
Councillor Peter Convery (pictured above) who is responsible for Trading Standards issues stated: “Buying a house is probably the single most expensive and most important purchase a person can make in a lifetime, and therefore getting it right is very important. The new law makes house buyers more informed and confident in what they are buying. Our Trading Standards service will provide all the advice and information that is necessary for sellers to meet their obligations under the new law and for potential buyers on what they are entitled to as information.”
Anyone needing information on the new law or any other Trading Standards matter should contact the South Ayrshire Trading Standards Advice Centre in confidence at 5-7 River Terrace, Ayr or call Ayr 61 60 60. Information and advice on Trading Standards issues can also be obtained on www.south-ayrshire.gov.uk/tradingstandards
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Hourstons holding open evening for friends and family
AYR department store Hourstons is holding a friends and family evening between 6pm and 9pm on Thursday 4 December.
General manager Linda Lawson says: “We look forward to welcoming our regular customers and friends in both the business and the wider community to what we hope will be a most enjoyable evening.
“We are offering 20% off prices, with 10% off cosmetics, and there will be a raffle in aid of the Ayrshire Hospice.”
In the late 1880s David Hourston, who had arrived from Orkney, opened a shop in Kyle Street. Such was his success that he built a new shop in Alloway Street in 1896 and took in his two sons as partners. Thus began the firm of D. Hourston & Sons.
On David’s death in 1917 the sons took over the business which had become one of the largest retail drapery establishments in Scotland. Its tearooms, smoking rooms and roof gardens became famed across the country.
In April 1949 the business was acquired by the House of Fraser group and in the years following, various changes took place, both in name (it became Arnotts for a time) and in ownership. Happily, the original name has now been restored and Hourstons remains one of the busiest stores in Ayr.
Telephone: 01292 267811.
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