The Elite Ayrshire Business Circle

The Elite Ayrshire Business Circle

Saturday, 20 December 2008

Town centre pub for lease in Kilmarnock

J&E Shepherd Chartered Surveyors has been appointed to let The Auld Hoose in Kilmarnock, Ayrshire at a competitive rental with barrelage discount available.

The Auld Hoose is a substantial detached public house formed over two levels with the bar currently operating on the ground floor only and the upper floor space used for storage accommodation.

Currently operating with the benefit of a full public house licence, The Auld Hoose is a fully fitted unit with a total area of over 4500 sq ft located at 130 Titchfield Street in an area of mixed commercial uses on a busy thoroughfare to the south of Kilmarnock town centre.

Markus Kroner, surveyor at Shepherd’s, said: “The lease for The Auld Hoose will incorporate a tie in respect of draught and bottled beers which will reflect favourable purchasing terms for the tenant with no premium sought. Rental is a competitive £20,000 per annum.”

Established 125 years ago in Scotland, J&E Shepherd delivers a valuation service throughout the UK, from a network of 32 offices throughout Scotland and over 75 locations in England, Wales and the Channel Islands. It offers a multi-disciplinary property service to include valuation, commercial agency, building surveying, rent reviews, development and investment consultancy, rating and property management. J&E Shepherd is now one of the largest independent firms of chartered surveyors in the UK.

For further information please contact Markus Kroner tel 01292 267987.

J&E Shepherd
Chartered Surveyors
2 Miller Road
AYR, Ayrshire

Telephone: 01292 267987
Fax: 01292 611521

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Friday, 19 December 2008

Christmas Message from John Scott MSP for Ayr

WITH Christmas upon us again it is the time for reflecting on the events of the past year and looking forward to what the next twelve months will hold.

There is little doubt that the past year has been a difficult one as the world’s economy slides from downturn into recession. For many local families this has already brought considerable hardship, and unhappily for many more the next year will be equally challenging.

During times of such adversity we must hold in our thoughts and have as the focus of our actions those who are less fortunate than we are and those for whom a harsh economic climate means real deprivation.

One of the highlights of my year was the recent homecoming parade held in Ayr for the men of the Royal Highland Fusiliers, returning from active service abroad. At this time of year in particular, it is important to reflect on the fact they are away from their families and friends in order to keep our country safe. They and their families, along with all of the nurses, doctors, police officers, fire officers and other public service workers who will be on duty over Christmas, deserve particular thanks and best wishes for the festive period.

I wish all readers of Ayrshire Scotland Business News and your friends and families a very Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year.

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John Scott's Scottish Parliament web page: CLICK HERE

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Thursday, 18 December 2008

Scottish children jet off for dream day in Lapland

By: Neil Richardson

COURAGEOUS children from all over Scotland left Glasgow Prestwick Airport in Ayrshire on board the ‘Lapland Express’ at the crack of dawn yesterday morning.

[Pictured: Glasgow Prestwick Airport’s Carrie Paterson with the Broadley family from Falkirk - dad Gordon (a service engineer), mum Norma (a receptionist) with children Lewis, eleven and Megan, five. CLICK ON ANY IMAGE TO VIEW / DOWNLOAD FULL-SIZE VERSION.]

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

This is the third year they have operated a flight out of Prestwick, following successful trips in 2006 and 2007.

An aircraft billed as the ‘Lapland Express’, carrying 57 children and their family members, took off at around 7.30am.

[Pictured: Jeanne Forrest from Bearsden, four-year-old son Thomas and the airport’s Julie McGann.]

The passengers included Jeanne Forest and her four-year-old son Thomas from Bearsden in Glasgow and the Petrie family from the city’s south side – dad Andrew, mum Helen, six-year-old Hannah and nine-year-old Daniel.

[Pictured: Heather Lairs from Mossend in Lanarkshire with five-year-old son James and Carrie Paterson.]

James Lairs, five, and mum Heather travelled from Mossend in Lanarkshire while others came from further afield such as Dave Johnstone and daughter Leah from St Andrew’s and the Broadley family from Falkirk – dad Gordon, mum Norma, eleven-year-old Lewis and five-year-old Megan.

Lapland has no shortage of magical pursuits to keep the visitors occupied – skidoos, snowmobiles, quad bikes, sledges, husky rides, Rudolph and of course the main attraction – Santa Claus.

For the youngsters and their families the trip is an opportunity to forget about the misery of hospital rooms and treatment for a short time. Anticipation was building from the moment they began arriving at 4am to check in.

Airport staff dressed up as elves to welcome them and the terminal was buzzing with excitement as it filled up with children sporting lots of layers and warm hats to protect them from the freezing Lapland temperatures.

The group gathered in the airport’s Aviator Suite, where the youngsters who had already checked in ate sweets, drank juice and watched cartoons.

As the group prepared to make their way to the aircraft, airport employees presented the charity’s Scottish fundraising manager Margaret Rowarth with a cheque for £1,463 – the proceeds of a staff raffle.

In a show of support for the charity, the airport waived the landing, handling and parking charges normally payable by airline customers, while the families who travelled on the flight were given free car parking facilities.

Glasgow Prestwick Chief Executive Airport Mark Rodwell commented: “The annual trip to Lapland is a fantastic day out for these children and their families after all that they have been through.

“It is very humbling to see the sheer joy on their faces that this day brings, and the airport is very proud that we are able to contribute towards making it happen.”

He added: “The charity behind this venture is a very worthwhile cause which relies almost exclusively on donations to carry out their work. They need as much financial support as possible to raise the £70,000 annual cost of making the trip happen.”

Glasgow Prestwick’s newsagent WH Smith contributed to the goodie bags which were handed out when the group returned in the evening.

They contained a group photograph of everyone on the flight which was taken before they left in the morning.

In order for When You Wish Upon A Star to continue granting the wishes of sick children, they rely solely on fundraising and donations from generous individuals. For the parents of a very poorly child, the need to make their wish come true is of the utmost importance. To make a donation visit

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Wednesday, 17 December 2008

First Minister opens extension at
Goodrich Aerostructures in Prestwick

SCOTLAND’S First Minister Rt Hon Alex Salmond MSP visited Goodrich Aerostructures’ Service Center in Prestwick, Ayrshire today Wednesday 17 December to formally open the new multi-million pound extension to their facility, which became operational earlier this year.

[Pictured: First Minister Alex Salmond (right); Goodrich Prestwick Service Center managing director Steve Callan (centre) and marketing & sales director John Agar (left). CLICK ON ANY IMAGE TO VIEW / DOWNLOAD FULL-SIZE VERSION]

The extension was constructed to support the company’s commitment to its products as a responsible OEM (original equipment manufacturer) and to facilitate the rapid growth in business which the Prestwick site has experienced in recent years.

Mr Salmond said: “Goodrich is a major global company which continues to invest in Scotland and has greatly benefited from the high value it has placed on our skilled workforce. The extension to this vast facility reflects the rapid growth and success of the company’s operations in Prestwick.

“The new extension, alongside the company’s commitment to expand, will be able to take the 280 strong workforce up to around 500. The strength and presence of Goodrich has played a significant role in establishing Prestwick as one of Europe’s aerospace hubs.

“However, the economic benefit of the company’s growth will be felt far beyond Ayrshire. Scotland leads the UK in training apprentices to meet the needs of the aerospace and defence industry. Goodrich is one of approximately 180 companies based in Scotland working in the aerospace industry, which allows them to take full advantage of our highly skilled workforce.

“The Scottish Government and Scottish Development International will continue to fully support Goodrich’s investment in Scotland, and wish them the best of luck in their expanded operations.”

Commenting on the opening, Steve Callan, Managing Director of the Prestwick Service Center, said: “We are delighted the First Minister is here to open the extension to our facility. This is an exciting time for our business, which continues to thrive despite the economic challenges facing the industry globally. Over the years we have worked hard to build a world class skills base here at Prestwick which enables us to provide a first class service in the maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) of nacelle systems in an extremely competitive market, and this expansion is illustrative of how successful we have been in achieving this."

Mr Callan continued: “Our expertise and commitment to the customer are second to none and have recently been rewarded with the decision by Boeing to make Goodrich Aerostructures a ‘preferred supplier’ for MRO support under its Network Service Center program on their 737 Next Generation and 777 airplanes.”

Goodrich Aerostructures now offer a comprehensive support package on these nacelles.

Mr Callan added: “Our continued success is testament to the hard work and dedication of our staff who are committed to providing the best possible service through a process of continuous improvement. It is this level of service and commitment which will position us favourably in terms of providing the right support to our customers who are facing a rapidly changing environment.”

Mr Callan also took the opportunity to thank Scottish Enterprise and all Goodrich’s business partners for their continued support, adding that the expansion enables the company to make a valuable contribution to both the local area and to the Scottish economy.

Goodrich Prestwick Service Center has been provided with grant assistance by Scottish Enterprise to assist with the expansion of the company’s facility and commercial activities with a view to creating circa 250 additional permanent, full-time jobs.

Ayr MSP John Scott has welcomed the news that 220 new jobs are to be created at the Goodrich Corporation’s service centre at Prestwick, following the official opening of the facility’s new extension.

Mr Scott said: “At a time when the economic news is very downbeat it is certainly great that 220 new jobs are to be created at the Prestwick centre, nearly doubling the workforce to 500 members of staff.

“Goodrich is at the cutting edge of the international aerospace industry and it is a tribute to the skills of the local workforce and to the strength of the aerospace campus at Prestwick that such a major company has the confidence to make such a significant long-term investment.”

Goodrich Corporation, a Fortune 500 company, is a global supplier of systems and services to aerospace, defence and homeland security markets. With one of the most strategically diversified portfolios of products in the industry, Goodrich serves a global customer base with significant worldwide manufacturing and service facilities. For more information visit

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Tuesday, 16 December 2008

Frazer Coogans Solicitors offer mis-sold
PPI policy compensation claim service

AYR-based Frazer Coogans Solicitors have announced that they can offer a service to clients who may have been wrongly sold Payment Protection Insurance (PPI) policies, and where appropriate to institute compensation claims procedures.

Frazer Coogans associate solicitor Stuart Paterson (pictured above) explains: “It has come to light in recent months that a large number of Payment Protection Insurance (PPI) policies have been mis-sold to unsuspecting consumers over a long period of time.

“These policies are usually associated with personal loans and credit cards, and are often sold to borrowers without their knowledge, or at the very least without them being made fully aware of the details of the policy and whether it is suitable for them.

“We are looking into this area, as in these times of financial stress many people could be entitled to recover money which is rightfully theirs from some of the biggest financial institutions in the United Kingdom.”

Mis-selling occurs on the most part either by the selling agent not making specific enquires about the borrowers personal background (e.g. employment or medical conditions) or by the selling agent not advising the borrower that the policy was optional.

Those with the best chances of success are those who took out their policy within the last six years or those who are either still using their policy or whose policy ended within the last six years. Outwith that timescale unless they have the original paperwork it will be difficult to succeed.

Stuart Paterson concludes: “Many of the main providers are paying out without too much fuss, both from an economic perspective and because they are aware of the mis-selling and have already been fined for it. It is hoped therefore that the whole process can be completed within two months. We offer potential claimants and initial discussion free of charge to enable us to assess whether they have a valid claim.”

“In relation to loans an average refund could be in the region of £1,000 - £2,000 and with credit cards around £500.”

The Government’s Competition Commission recently announced plans to end the hard-sell of expensive Payment Protection Insurance (PPI) alongside loans, credit cards and mortgages.

PPI is supposed to be a safety net in case borrowers suddenly lose their income through unemployment or ill-health.

The Competition Commission wants the way Payment Protection Insurance is sold to be revised, as it has become notorious for high costs, widespread mis-selling and the failure of banks and insurance companies to pay out when claims are made. The Commission have already issued substantial fines against several major companies (see below)

Sales of PPI are a money-spinner for banks and insurance companies. There are more than 13million policies currently in existence - generating an annual premium income of around £5.5billion.

However, the Commission believes that these premiums are too high and the industry is earning excess profits of £1.4billion a year.

In future, banks will be banned from selling PPI policies alongside new loans and credit cards - cutting off a hugely lucrative flow of cash.

Instead, they will have to wait at least 14 days after a loan has been sold to offer PPI - allowing customers to shop around.

Companies Already Fined by the Competition Commission
for mis-selling PPI policies:

Alliance & Leicester
Parks of Hamilton
Land of Leather
GE Capital Bank Ltd
Capital One
HFC Bank
Regency Mortgage Corporation


Frazer Coogans Solicitors
Dalblair House
46 Dalblair Road
Ayr KA7 1UQ
Ayrshire, Scotland

Contact: Norman Geddes, Senior Partner
Tel: 01292 280499
Fax: 01292 611645


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Ayrshire is focal point for launch of Homecoming Scotland 2009

ALLOWAY in South Ayrshire will play a leading role in Scotland’s Homecoming Year, which is created and timed to mark the 250th anniversary of our national poet Robert Burns and will officially open with a weekend of celebrations in his honour.

Over the weekend of 23 and 25 January 2009, Alloway in Ayrshire will be involved in part of the opening weekend celebrations that will kick off the Homecoming Scotland events programme featuring more than 300 inspirational events that connects with the year’s themes of Burns, golf, whisky, great Scottish minds and innovations and ancestry. Spanning the length and breadth of the country the programme of events has been created to encourage Scots, people with Scots ancestry and those who simply love Scotland to ‘come home’ and celebrate in 2009.

[Pictured: South Ayrshire Council Provost Winifred Sloan, Councillor Margaret Toner, and actors Angie Dight and Kevin Kelly at the Brig O’ Doon in Alloway, launching Iconic Burns part of the opening weekend programme of Homecoming Scotland 2009 that features more than 300 inspirational events throughout the year and has been inspired by the 250th anniversary of Robert Burns. CLICK ON ANY IMAGE TO VIEW / DOWNLOAD FULL-SIZE VERSION.]

South Ayrshire Council Provost Winifred Sloan attended the launch of Iconic Burns, which will be one of the highlights of the programme. Staged in Alloway, the birthplace of Robert Burns on Saturday 24 January 2009, it will see the village become a focal point for the Burns celebrations. Village locations such as Burns Cottage, The Brig O’ Doon and The Auld Kirk will be brought to life in a one-off extravaganza for this special year. Some of the UK’s top lighting and design artists brought together by UZ Events, are involved in what will be a unique Burns tribute. Free tickets are available by public ballot by registering on before 11 January 2009.

[Pictured: Actors rehearse at the Brig O’ Doon in preparation for the opening weekend of Homecoming Scotland 2009. The year long celebrations are inspired by the 250th anniversary of the birth of Robert Burns.]

Speaking about the forthcoming events, Provost Winifred Sloan said: “As the birth place of Robert Burns and the Open Golf Championship, South Ayrshire attracts visitors from all over the world, and I can think of no better year to visit than in 2009, the 250th anniversary of the birth of our national Bard, when South Ayrshire will be at the epicentre of Homecoming 2009. I would encourage people who were born or grew up in this area to come home during this very special time. Likewise for Scottish people who live abroad, have Scottish ancestors, business connections or simply those who love all things Scottish make a commitment to yourself to come to South Ayrshire in 2009. Many international sports stars, inventors, artists, academics and business people are Scottish and know the importance of their heritage and culture. Come and visit South Ayrshire and we can promise you a very warm welcome.”

[Pictured: The Brig O' Doon is brought to life by top UK lighting designer and performers as they rehearse for the opening weekend of Homecoming Scotland 2009.]

Alloway will also host the ‘Homecoming Burns Supper’ which will pay tribute to some of those who keep the legacy of Burns alive today. The event, overlooking the Brig O’ Doon, will be a centrepiece for The World Famous Burns Supper Celebration, created in partnership with The Famous Grouse. Burns Suppers around the world will link up for the first time ever on The dedicated site already shows hundreds of Burns Suppers taking place around the world from the Ukraine to the USA and from the top of Canada’s CN Tower to the top of Ben Nevis.

A host of other activity will be taking place across South Ayrshire including Burns Wha Hae, a weekend of performance, theatre, live music and family fun. Highlights include concerts from Martin Taylor, The Dubliners and Counselled Out, The Gaiety Theatre will host ‘I’ Robert Burns and there will be a jam packed town centre party with a fairground and family entertainment on the streets and in some of the stores. Burns Wha Hae will take place Friday 23 January 2009 to Sunday 25 January 2009.

On Burns Day on 25 January 2009, don’t miss a very special event ‘Alloway 1759’ where the streets of Alloway will be transported back 250 years to the day the bard was born. Burns Cottage will be reminiscing with ‘A bard is born’, street characters will welcome you to Alloway and you can take a horse and cart ride to ‘a Star is born’ at Rozelle’ or enjoy The Tam O’ Shanter rant.

All Ayrshire homecoming events will be detailed on

Paul Bush, Chief Operating Officer, EventScotland said: “For Homecoming Scotland 2009 the Burns Night celebrations extend across the weekend and indeed throughout the year. The programme offers more than 300 events taking place across the country with hundreds of individuals and organisations working hard to make the year a success.”

Neil Butler, Artistic Director of UZ Events said: “Robert Burns is Scotland’s most important literary figure, whose appeal spreads throughout the world. UZ Events are delighted to be producing Iconic Burns - a fitting launch to the Homecoming Scotland 2009 celebrations. The strong team involved with the event represents some of the best creative artists working in the UK today, who have been behind some of the country’s most memorable events.”

Shirley Bell of The Robert Burns World Federation said: “We are delighted that people from all walks of life and all corners of the globe are able to participate in the many splendid Homecoming events taking place during 2009 in Alloway and beyond. We are especially pleased that the 250th anniversary of the Poet’s birth will set the scene for an exciting year in Scotland.”

A full list of events is available on


Situated in the south west of Scotland South Ayrshire covers an area of 422 square miles or 1,222 square kilometres. There are rural and urban communities, which offer wonderful locations to work, rest or play.

South Ayrshire has so much to offer, it is not just a place to live and work, but provides an opportunity for residents and visitors of all ages and from all walks of life to enjoy a great lifestyle.

There are excellent transport connections to this area, including Glasgow Prestwick Airport with its own railway terminal, the Seacat ferry terminal in Troon, modern rail, bus and road connections which make travelling so easy.

World famous golf courses, a racecourse, leisure facilities both public and private, parks, beaches and the sea offer a wide variety of ways to spend leisure time. Ayr town centre has a wide variety of shops many of which are independently owned but there are also a number of large chain stores situated in the town, eating establishments offering various styles of cuisine, a cinema, theatre and even nightclubs.

Just walking around Ayr and other towns and villages in South Ayrshire is a thrill with traditional sandstone, cottage style, Georgian or Victorian houses and buildings we have very diverse architecture.

Miles of unspoilt coastline provide wonderful views from many towns and villages in this area. Particularly beautiful is the magnificent beach in Ayr, with stretches of golden sand.

One of the greatest assets that South Ayrshire has is the local people, known the world over for the warm welcome they give to people from all over the globe. This is one of the reasons why South Ayrshire has such a thriving tourist industry, because whatever visitors desire every attempt is made to meet their needs.

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Sunday, 14 December 2008

Christmas message from South Ayrshire Provost Winifred Sloan

CHRISTMAS is an important time of the year that for different people means different things.

For some it is a major event in their religious calendar, a time to celebrate the birth of a child who came into this world in a stable in Bethlehem and made a real difference to the world. In Churches across Scotland and the globe special services will be held to celebrate and give thanks for the birth of baby Jesus.

For others, Christmas is a time of year when family and friends make a point of getting together to spend time with each other, exchange presents and remember how important they are to each other.

However, the two things are not exclusive. Nowadays in our multi-cultural society, people follow many different faiths, and although Christmas may not be a significant religious time for them, they still celebrate it. Likewise those of us who celebrate Christmas as a religious festival can join in the celebrations of other religions at other times of the year.

What ever way you choose to celebrate Christmas, I think that we all need to remember those in our local communities who are less fortunate than others. For those who are alone at Christmas it can be a difficult time, watching others joining together to celebration. I am positive that they would appreciate a visit, an invitation to join in some of the festivities, a card or a simple gift to remind them that someone cares.

In my thoughts this Christmas will by our brave service men and women who are on active duty in other countries, and their families who will be without them. I will also be thinking of the families whose loved ones have not returned, having paid the ultimate sacrifice for their country.

I always feel that Christmas is a time for reflection and for being thankful for what we have. Tinsel, presents and cards are lovely, but there is much more to Christmas.

I would like to take this opportunity to wish everyone in South Ayrshire a very Merry Christmas and a healthy, contended and peaceful 2009.

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Christmas message from Hugh Hunter,
Leader of South Ayrshire Council

AFTER every Christmas, I promise myself that next Christmas I will be very well organised, I will have written all my cards and presents bought well ahead of the day. Does that sound familiar?

In reality we all make great plans, then work, family commitments, social events and other things take up our time. We often then find ourselves in the weeks and days up to Christmas rushing around trying to do all those things that we said we would have done long before the big day.

Sometimes at Christmas I think that we can all be so busy planning and looking forward to the event that we forget to stop, take a breath and enjoy the moment. After all, the essence of Christmas is celebrating a significant time in many peoples religious calendar.

This year, with the current global economic climate, I think that people are watching very carefully the amount that they spend on Christmas. However, this is not necessarily a bad thing, it is not the amount of money that we spend on a card or a gift that matters but the thought that goes into it. This is something that can sometimes get forgotten during the festive season.

For many people Christmas Day will be another working day. Police officers, fire and rescue Officers and hospital staff will be carrying out their duties as normal, looking after us in their special way. I would like to thank them and their families for their dedication to serving their communities.

On Christmas Day I will be saying a special prayer for servicemen and women who are on active duty abroad, serving their country.

I know that for anyone who has lost a loved one during the last year, through whatever circumstances, the festivities will be a particularly difficult time for their families and friends. I will be doing everything I can to support anyone I know in this position, and I would urge you to do the same.

Wherever you will be spending this Christmas, and whoever you will be spending it with, enjoy your celebrations.

2009 is just around the corner, and my wish is that the New Year will bring harmony, peace and prosperity to you all.

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