Thursday, 31 December 2009
Scotland must become the green energy powerhouse of Europe
SCOTLAND needs the power to manage its own natural resources so that it can become the energy powerhouse of Europe, First Minister Alex Salmond says in his New Year message.
WATCH THE VIDEO:
Mr Salmond predicted a ‘renewables revolution’ emanating from a Scotland which had won the ‘natural lottery’ - with wind, wave and tidal resources offering the capacity to produce some 10 times Scotland’s own electricity requirements.
The First Minister pointed to the Climate Change Act - setting legally binding targets to cut Scottish greenhouse gas emissions by 42 per cent and 80 per cent by 2020 and 2050 respectively - as the most important legislation passed by the Parliament in 2009, even although world leaders in Copenhagen had failed to commit fully to a way forward.
“In Copenhagen I spoke about Scotland’s energy potential, our green energy potential, our ambition to be the energy powerhouse of Europe,” he said.
“Many countries saw the lead that Scotland was taking as an example of the legislation and of the action that must be taken to protect our planet collectively. Despite the disappointment of Copenhagen, people power internationally will force political leadership to commit to the ambitious targets for their countries that Scotland has already set."
But the FM added that Scotland must get the benefit of its own resources if it was to become a major exporter and the energy powerhouse of the Europe.
He said: “Even now, we’re being held back in the exploitation of these renewables because we now have to pay in Scotland much higher connection charges to the electricity grid than companies have to pay south of the border. That’s totally unfair and totally unacceptable.
“If we're going to make the most of this renewable revolution, then we’re going to have to have equal access to the grid - and the powers for our Parliament to secure that proper access.
“And that’s why it’s important, as we move into this New Year, that the people of Scotland are given their say in making sure that their Parliament can extend its powers to have the ability to mobilise the resources of Scotland for Scotland’s benefit.
“The referendum on the constitution is not an abstraction - it’s not something for politicians. It’s something for every person in Scotland. Because if we’re going to harness the power of Scotland, then we need to give Scotland power.
“So this Ne’er Day, as we look forward to 2010, I’m wishing you a happy New Year - renewing the energy of Scotland, renewing Scotland as a country. Have a guid New Year.”
The Climate Change (Scotland) Bill was passed unanimously by the Parliament. The legislation creates a long-term framework that:
* introduces a statutory target to reduce Scotland’s greenhouse gas emissions by at least 80 per cent by 2050;
* establishes an interim target of at least 42 per cent emissions reductions by 2020;
* establishes a framework of annual targets; and
* includes emissions from international aviation and international shipping.
The Scottish Government has also set green energy targets, including meeting 50 per cent of electricity demand from renewable sources by 2020. With 6.5 Gigawatts of renewables capacity installed, consented or under construction, Scotland has surpassed the interim target of 31 per cent by 2011.
The current charging regime requires electricity generators in Scotland to pay the UK's highest transmission costs, while in parts of the south of England companies actually receive a subsidy. Generators in the north of Scotland face charges of around £21.58 per Kilowatt Hour, yet those in London receive £2.70 per kwH while more than twice that subsidy (£6.68) is paid out to firms in Cornwall, according to National Grid’s own figures.
This means that Scottish generators produce 12 per cent of UK generation, but account for 40 per cent of the transmission costs - or about £100 million per year more than their proportionate share.
The First Minister highlighted concerns that the charging regime creates a significant and fundamental barrier to encouraging renewable energy development in Scotland during his meeting with EU Energy Commissioner Andris Piebalgs in Brussels last month. The National Grid has rejected Scottish Government proposals to adopt a flat rate charge for use of the system but Ministers continue to engage with National Grid and Ofgem to find a way forward.
On November 30 the Scottish Government published a White Paper - Your Scotland, Your Voice - setting out options for Scotland’s constitutional future and paving the way for Ministers to bring forward a Bill in 2010.
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Monday, 28 December 2009
ARPL Architects get repair work started at St Andrew’s Church
ARPL Architects Ltd announce that scaffolding has gone up and repair work started on the tower and spire of B-listed St Andrew’s Parish Church in Ayr.
A Heritage Lottery Fund grant has been received for the repair of stonework, finial and stained glass, work which is due to be completed by late Spring 2010.
The project architect, Lynne Yuille of ARPL Architects Ltd, is seen above at the top of the scaffold carrying out detailed inspection for the £150K repair work.
The congregation of St Andrew’s Church, Ayr were very pleased to be awarded a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund to cover 2/3 of the costs of the work. The main contractor for the project is Fleming Masonry Contractors Ltd of Glasgow, who are specialists in conservation work.
Earlier this year steeplejacks carried out emergency stabilisation of the finial and crown stone at the top of the spire, and the project as a whole was started after storm damage to the tower louvres.
ARPL Architects Ltd director in charge of the project Rebecca Cadie said: “We are very pleased to get this local landmark project on to site, and despite the winter weather, good progress is being made to repair the finial, spire, bell louvres and large west window.
“Grant funding has been hard to win in the last year, and the congregation of St Andrew’s are thrilled that it has been given in recognition of the importance of this building’s contribution to Ayr’s townscape.”
ARPL Architects Ltd
The directors of ARPL Architects Ltd are Patrick Lorimer, Robert Gilliland, Gordon Fleming, and Rebecca Cadie with John Ramsay, Stewart Glendinning and Kenneth Handley as associates.
The ARPL philosophy is to produce buildings to the highest design standards in close consultation with its clients. Designs are innovative and sympathetic to both the immediate and the broader environment in which they are constructed, with an emphasis on sustainability. Each project embraces the unique nature of the client’s needs and the site.
Over the 36 years since Patrick Lorimer established the original practice, ARPL’s status in the profession has grown steadily in line with its position as a medium-sized practice with a reputation for well executed projects. From its base in Ayr the practice carries out projects over a wide geographical area from the Orkneys and the Western Isles to Ireland.
The firm’s project experience covers the fields of housing, churches, schools, commercial projects, private houses, community and arts buildings. Particular expertise has been developed in contemporary sustainable design, specialist conservation works and design for historically sensitive environments.
ARPL’s work has received wide recognition through numerous design and environmental awards presented over the years for its new build and conservation works. Regular success in design competitions adds to the practice portfolio.
ARPL are currently working on new and refurbishment housing for Lochside, Ayr, several church and castle conservation and restoration projects and new community facilities in the South West of Scotland. Appointments for church commissions involve a range of denominations and projects from conservation and repair to extensions and new build. The firm is also involved in country houses and estates and the design of new houses for private owners.
The practice typically handles projects with construction values ranging from £100k through to £15m.
ARPL directors have managed to keep their business stable during the current difficult times, and have a busy current workload.
ARPL Architects Ltd is a founder member of the Elite Ayrshire Business Circle.
ARPL Architects Ltd
Architects and Quantity Surveyors
11 Wellington Square
Ayr KA7 1EN
Contact: Patrick Lorimer
Tel: 01292 289777
Fax: 01292 288896
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Thursday, 24 December 2009
Ayr retailers come out tops with best Christmas window displays
THE X-Factor may well have had everyone glued to their television screen recently, but it’s the ‘Xmas’ factor that has Ayr shop owners in a festive flutter!
Judges for annual Best Dressed Window Competition took to the streets last week to make their selections, narrowing down the runners-up and choosing the winners for 2009.
They were joined by South Ayrshire Provost Winifred Sloan, who said: “It hardly seems a year ago since we were last trying to pick the winners for the Best Dressed Window of 2008.
“A well dressed window, particularly at Christmas, makes shopping much more fun and, added to the Christmas lights, creates a bit of glitter and magic in the town.
“Not only do winners get tickets for the Flower Show next year, we’re also presenting tickets to Cinderella at the Citadel, adding a seasonal sparkle to the prizes!”
Two categories are judged in the competition. The Multiple Trader Award, was won by Accessorise, with Hourstons runners-up.
The Independent Retailer award was won by Pillar Box and runner-up was Table Toppers.
Pictured above: Pillar Box owner Rosemary Dorans receives a crystal award from Geoff Barber, President of the Rotary Club of Ayr for winning the Independent Retailer Category in the Best Dressed Window Competition for 2009. Also pictured are: (left to right) Provost Winifred Sloan, Phiroze Mehta, President Ayr & Prestwick Lions Club, Geoff Barber, John Walker, Chairman Ayr Flower Show and Vice Dean Ayr Guildry, and Councillor Elaine Little.
Pictured above: Table Toppers manager Jean Ingram receives a crystal award from Geoff Barber as runner up in the Independent Retailer Category in the Best Dressed Window Competition for 2009. Also pictured are: John Walker, Provost Winifred Sloan, Phiroze Mehta and Councillor Elaine Little.
Pictured above: Debra Edmunds, assistant manager of Accessorize receives a crystal award from Phiroze Mehta for winning the Multiple Trader Retail Category in the Best Dressed Window Competition for 2009. Also pictured are: Geoff Barber, Provost Winifred Sloan, Janice Houston Accessorize Manager, John Walker and Councillor Elaine Little. CLICK ON ANY IMAGE TO VIEW / DOWNLOAD FULL-SIZE VERSION.
Pictured above: Lynne Fraser of Hourstons receives a crystal award from Phiroze Mehta as runner up Multiple Trader Retail Category in the Best Dressed Window Competition for 2009. Also pictured are: Linda Lawson, Store Manager, Hourstons, Provost Winifred Sloan, Geoff Barber and Councillor Elaine Little.
Provost Sloan concluded: “This year the standard has again been of a consistently high quality and it does make our decision very difficult. In particular, I’d like to commend those shops that have entered the competition, getting into the festive spirit and for their hard work in making their window displays stand out.”
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Tuesday, 22 December 2009
Christmas message from Councillor Hugh Hunter,
Leader of South Ayrshire Council
“It seems no time since I was last wishing you a merry Christmas. I can’t believe how quickly this year has passed, and that the festive season – which I’m very much looking forward to – is almost upon us once again.
“Although the year has gone quickly, it has been one of the most challenging for everyone, from major banking institutions to councils to local families in South Ayrshire, and I’m sure many among us will be looking forward to a fresh start in 2010.
“That’s what’s so special about this time of year – Christmas gives us an opportunity to come together as families and friends and celebrate all that is good in our lives, while New Year provides time for reflection and the chance to change the way we do things.
“And that’s been an important theme for the Council over the past 18 months or so. We have to do things differently to achieve our objectives and our vision of establishing South Ayrshire as the most inclusive, sustainable and dynamic community in Scotland, and that will continue as we move into 2010 and beyond.
“The changes we have seen not only in our own communities but across the country during this year have made many people focus on what is really important in life. In a consumer society, it’s very easy to focus on possessions – especially at this time of year when we’re thinking about presents – but at the end of the day, it’s the people that matter.
“And I am incredibly proud of the people of South Ayrshire and the way they look out for each other. That’s never more important than at this time of year when many families can’t be together over the festive period. Whether through work, illness or simply distance, we should all think about those who may experience a very different Christmas and New Year than we ourselves will have.
“In particular, my thoughts will be with the members of our armed forces, who are serving abroad in various parts of the world. They will, I know, be missed by their families, and I wish them all a safe Christmas.
“I thoroughly enjoy this time of year, and I hope you will too – however you choose to celebrate or pass the time. I wish everyone in South Ayrshire a very Merry Christmas and a peaceful, healthy and contented 2010 when it arrives.
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Tuesday, 15 December 2009
Brunston Castle Golf Club announces special offer subscription fees
Brunston Castle Golf Club in South Ayrshire has announced a special seasonal offer on its Club subscription fees.
Until the end of 2009 only, an annual membership can be purchased for from only £250, with no joining fee. This is an amazing saving of 33% on the standard annual membership subscription fee, and would make an ideal Christmas present for all golf lovers.
In announcing the special offer, Brunston Castle general manager Cheryl Steven (pictured above) said that she was looking forward to building on the progress that the Club had made over the past twelve months as it headed into 2010.
There has been a 33% increase in membership numbers since January 2009, and Cheryl commented: “This has been an excellent achievement, taking in to consideration the current economic climate that we find ourselves in. As I enter my second year at Brunston Castle I am enthusiastic about the upcoming season, and am confident that we can continue to further increase and enhance our membership.”
Over the past twelve months the Club management team has endeavoured to implement improvements in the golf course condition, upgrade clubhouse facilities, and standardise policies and procedures that will enable a more efficient and effective running of the company, thus allowing the re-establishment of Brunston Castle Golf Course as one of the leading golf courses in South Ayrshire.
In May 2009, the Club hosted the fourth Scottish Golf Union Junior Tour event, and the SGU has once again chosen Brunston Castle to host the event in May 2010.
The Club is currently working with both Golf Tour Operators and Hoteliers to further develop its potential visitor client base. It will continue to encourage Junior Golf development and hopefully increase junior membership numbers, recognising that they are its future. Brunston Castle has also invested in a new minibus, which again will enhance the image of Brunston and will be offered to all parties.
Brunston Castle has also seized the opportunity this year to sponsor Ladies European Tour player, Pamela Feegans. As part of her association with Brunston Castle, Pamela will be working very closely with the Club to help promote and develop the Brunston Castle brand and its attraction to players of all abilities, and will also be contributing a “Life in the day of a Tour Pro” blog on the Brunston Castle website. Pamela will be about the clubhouse from time to time when not on tour and will gladly give members some pointers for their own game.
Brunston Castle Golf Club Green Staff will continue to endeavour to provide a course that both members and visitors are proud to play, and will gladly listen to and put forward to management for implementation any suggestions made regarding the betterment of the golf course.
Cheryl Steven commented: “The condition of the greens this season could possibly be the best that anyone has ever seen at Brunston Castle, and we fully expect that with their continual maintenance, they will be every bit as good if not better next season.
“And in an effort to upgrade our facilities, the work within the clubhouse has been completed with the walls being re-painted, new floor coverings throughout, in addition to the removal of a wall in the rear restaurant area, which has now created a brighter, more inviting, open plan facility.
“We have had a successful season in 2009, due mainly to increased use of the Clubhouse facility, including numerous weddings and special events, in addition to increased business through the restaurant. The Clubhouse has developed a reputation for providing a warm environment in which to unwind after a round of golf, but is also becoming increasingly popular for non-golfers to enjoy good food, in pleasant surroundings.
“The Clubhouse will once again focus on further development of our weddings and function business going into 2010, with several weddings and significant events already confirmed for 2010, as well as numerous enquiries for 2011.
“We anticipate that this trend will continue, but if you or someone you know are contemplating a golf outing, a function or wedding this coming year, then I hope that you will consider and/or recommend Brunston Castle Golf Course as the place to hold such special events.
“On behalf of both myself and the Staff of Brunston Castle, I would like to personally thank you for your kind support during 2009 and very much look forward to this continuing throughout 2010.”
Brunston Castle Golf Club
Golf Course Road
Dailly KA26 9GD
Contact: Cheryl Steven, General Manager
Tel: 01465 811471
Fax: 01465 811545
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Friday, 11 December 2009
A Christmas message from South Ayrshire Provost Winifred Sloan
THE days are growing shorter, the dark winter nights are growing longer, and Christmas is now drawing upon us. Christmas remains a magical time, and each and everyone is entitled to feel the warm glow of humanity touching us all, as well as raising our hearts and spirits.
The past year has resulted in challenges unseen in decades. But the human spirit of resourcefulness and resilience has helped overcome many of the difficult days we’ve all encountered. The global financial crisis has caused deep concern for individuals and businesses alike, and we all hope 2010 will result in greater financial stability and security for our families.
Christmas remains a time for families to re-engage and share those cherished moments. It’s a special time for young children to enjoy the wonder of Christmas activities, and share the general excitement and the bestowing of family gifts. A childhood Christmas is an enduring part of our lives, something we all cherish and appreciate with the passing years.
However, there will be many families this year who will be unable to reunite with their loved ones. In particular, we think of our servicemen and women on active duty in Iraq and Afghanistan. Sons and daughters, brothers and sisters, grandparents, husbands, wives and sweethearts will be separated over the forthcoming festive season.
We acknowledge the pain of their separation, especially those on active duty with small children, and look forward to their safe return to family, friends and loved ones in the near future. Our support to these brave men and women will help maintain their families over the forthcoming coming weeks and months.
We also acknowledge the work of those closer to home. Our emergency services are on duty for 365 days of the year, and the work of the police, ambulance and fire service continues to safeguard our homes and families over the Christmas period.
We should also acknowledge the work of social services, care-workers, hospital staff, doctors and nurses, who help care for the sick, young, elderly, frail and vulnerable members of our community.
Christmas is about caring – and sharing. Please spare a thought for the vulnerable or an elderly person who may not have relatives close to home. Just check up on a neighbour and ensure all’s well. Caring is a gift in itself.
This year, close to home and further afield, we have suffered dreadful flooding and many homes have been destroyed. Flooding at any time is a disaster, but so close to Christmas makes it more poignant. Please share a thought for the many families who will not be celebrating Christmas in their own homes. In fact they might not celebrate Christmas at all. They will be devastated – please pray these families will be able to return to their communities by Christmas 2010. Anything anyone can do to help in however humble a way will be greatly appreciated.
The true message of Christmas has a special meaning. It touches all our hearts and makes us all appreciate the values of Christianity. The wonder of a small child opening presents on Christmas morning; the warmth and appreciation of parents, grandparents, uncles and aunts; and the thoughtful gifts of appreciation to family and loved ones. It’s a time of joyous fun, kindness, and consideration, as well as a coming together of family and friends.
Let’s ensure Christmas 2009 brings warmth and appreciation to everyone within our community. And remember: let’s think of others as well as ourselves.
Finally, I’d like to take this opportunity to wish everyone in South Ayrshire - a merry Christmas and a peaceful New Year!
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Wednesday, 9 December 2009
Cinderella pantomime a great success at the Citadel in Ayr
PANTOMIME audiences were dancing in the aisles in Ayr at the opening weekend of South Ayrshire Council’s festive production of Cinderella – a collaboration with Robert C Kelly.
[Pictured: Cinderella arrives at the Citadel in style as the 2009 pantomime season gets underway in South Ayrshire. CLICK ON ANY IMAGE TO VIEW / DOWNLOAD FULL-SIZE VERSION.]
With a star cast featuring favourites from BBC’s River City (Libby McArthur and Sally Howitt) and CBeebies Me Too (Matthew McVarish and Elaine MacKenzie Ellis), Cinderella wowed the crowds at the Citadel leisure centre with fantastic costumes, terrific songs and dance and that all-important audience participation.
Audiences happily joined in with shouts of “He’s behind you!” and “Oh no, it isn’t!” as well as a fun dance routine at the end of the show. They were also delighted to see special appearances by a number of acts who ensured that the panto not only had talent, but also the x-factor!
[Pictured: The cast of the Cinderella pantomime at the Citadel in Ayr.]
Running until Boxing Day, Cinderella is the ideal way to get in the mood for Christmas, and last weekend’s audiences were buzzing with excitement and couldn’t wait to tell their friends and families to book tickets.
Anne Marie Harkins from Kilwinning said: “We normally go to Glasgow for the pantomime, but this was so handy and the show itself couldn’t have been any better. It was very current and interactive and thoroughly entertained the whole family – the big kids and the little ones! I would definitely recommend it for anyone planning a trip to the panto this year.”
Other comments included: “Fantastic night out, atmosphere was brilliant”; “Well written. Humour was great, and appealed to both the young and old”; “fantastic”; “really good show”; “brilliant”; “best panto in the last three years”; “excellent”; “loved it”.
Councillor Margaret Toner, South Ayrshire Council's Portfolio Holder for Leisure, said: “I am thrilled the panto has enjoyed a successful opening weekend, and I hope to see this continue throughout its run.
“This is a quality production that is typical of what audiences expect when they come to the pantomime in Ayr, and I am delighted our standards have stayed the same although we’ve moved venue this year.
“I hope as many people as possible take up the chance to see the show before it's too late – and with tickets starting from just £10, there’s no excuse for staying at home!”
Cinderella is on at the Citadel until Saturday 26 December. Visit www.citadelpanto.co.uk for further information. Telephone bookings can be made on 01292 269793.
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Monday, 7 December 2009
Clydesdale Bank features Robert Burns on its new £10 note
Robert Burns, one of Scotland’s most famous sons, is featured on Clydesdale Bank’s new £10 note, which is now in circulation. This note is the fourth of Clydesdale Bank’s new world heritage banknotes which are now available at selected Clydesdale Bank cash machines and retail branches across the country.
[Pictured launching Clydesdale Bank’s new £10 note, Willie Mackie (front), managing partner at Clydesdale Bank’s Ayrshire Financial Solutions Centre with Nat Edwards (back), director of the Robert Burns Birthplace Museum, at Burns Cottage, Alloway. CLICK ON ANY IMAGE TO VIEW / DOWNLOAD FULL-SIZE VERSION.]
As well as featuring ‘The Bard’ on the front, the £10 note will also depict an iconic image of Edinburgh’s Old and New Towns on the reverse.
Clydesdale Bank’s new note collection showcases the best of Scotland’s heritage, people and culture and is the first time in more than 20 years the Bank has launched a completely new set of notes.
Robert Burns was chosen to feature on the Bank’s most-used banknote to coincide with the year of the Homecoming – which celebrates the 250th anniversary of his death.
The front of each new note will honour a prominent and innovative Scot while the reverse will feature one of Scotland’s five World Heritage Sites.
Clydesdale Bank is the largest issuer of banknotes in Scotland, with more than £1.1billion in circulation in any given week.
Willie Mackie, managing partner of Clydesdale Bank’s Ayrshire Financial Solutions Centre said: “Clydesdale Bank’s new £10 note reflects Scotland’s excellent worldwide reputation. We are extremely proud to mark the remarkable achievements of Burns, especially on the 250th anniversary of his death.
“Clydesdale Bank is honoured to be associated with the people and locations depicted on the new world heritage banknotes, and we hope this prompts people to take further interest and to delve deeper into Scotland’s history.”
Nat Edwards, director of the Robert Burns Birthplace Museum in Alloway said: “Robert Burns is one of the most significant Scots of all time. His work is known and celebrated across the world. Burns is regarded as a pioneer of the Romantic Movement, and was a source of inspiration to the founders of both liberalism and socialism.
“Marking the achievements Burns made on the world with his depiction on the Clydesdale Bank note is fantastic, and I hope this continues the public’s interest in his work.”
The new notes are the first in the UK to use a new ‘depth image’ hologram security feature – which is a moving hologram behind the prominent front image.
The bank’s £5, £20 and £50 notes, featuring Sir Alexander Fleming, Hebridean Island St Kilda, Robert the Bruce, New Lanark, Elsie Inglis and the Antonine Wall respectively have already entered circulation and are widely available from cash machines and retail branches throughout the country.
Notes from the new collection were part of Clydesdale Bank’s recent charity auctions of rare and valuable bank notes, where a £1 note sold for £9,000 breaking the previous world record for the sale of a Scottish bank note. In total, across the two auctions, the Bank raised more than £200,000 for charities across the UK.
Financial Solutions Centre
43 Alloway Street
Ayr KA7 1SP
Contact: Willie Mackie, Managing Partner
Tel: 01292 272072
Fax: 01292 280202
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CKD Galbraith property consultancy to recruit three new land agents
LEADING property consultancy CKD Galbraith, specialists in rural property surveying, has announced that it is looking to recruit three qualified land agents, including one for their office in Ayr.
The firm acquired the Buccleuch John Sale estate agency and chartered surveying business in July this year, with the addition of three new offices and 30 staff.
[Pictured: Chris Addison-Scott of CKD Galbraith said: “It has been a very exciting and significant time for us since our major expansion earlier this year.”]
The major expansion has resulted in the need for three new land agents across the firm’s Castle Douglas and Ayr offices as well as on the Isle of Bute, details as follows:
* Castle Douglas - Estate Agent/Land Agent
An opening has arisen for an experienced MRICS qualified Chartered Surveyor to take responsibility for property sales, land management, valuations and additional professional work.
* Isle of Bute - Resident Sub-Agent
A recently qualified Chartered Surveyor is being sought for the permanent post as Factor on Bute Estate. The successful candidate will be based in the estate office at Mount Stuart and a two bedroom cottage is available as well as an estate vehicle.
* Ayr Office - Senior Land Agent
A qualified and ambitious Land Agent is being sought to take on a key role in the further development of the busy and well established Ayr office. Responsibilities will include rural land management, valuations and professional advice, utilities and compensation work.
Chris Addison-Scott of CKD Galbraith said: “It has been a very exciting and significant time for us since our major expansion earlier this year. Having strengthened our presence to cover the whole of Scotland from the North East to the Borders, we are delighted to offer an unparalleled service and look forward to building our business with the appointment of three new land agents.”
For the opportunity to join one of Scotland’s leading rural property surveying firms, please contact Chris Addison-Scott of CKD Galbraith on 0141 953 3070 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
About CKD Galbraith
CKD Galbraith is an independent property consultancy specialising in serving the needs of private clients. It employs over 160 people in offices in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Perth, Cupar, Inverness, Aberfeldy, Castle Douglas, Ayr, Elgin, Galashiels, Kelso and Peebles.
The partnership provides the full range of property consulting services across the commercial, residential and rural sectors throughout Scotland. The company’s rural arm specialises in farm sales and purchases, the management and sale of large estates and woodland, valuations and building surveying work.
The company enjoys a successful relationship with its associate firm in London, CKD Kennedy Macpherson, as well as providing a range of services to the farming community through an association with United Auctions, Scotland’s leading livestock auctioneers and procurement specialists.
7 Killoch Place
Ayr KA7 2EA
Contact: R A Cherry BSc MRICS
Tel: 01292 268181
Fax: 01292 292300
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Sunday, 6 December 2009
Paligap wins Costley and Costley branding account
ELITE Ayrshire Business Circle founder member Paligap has been appointed to rebrand and reposition the prestigious hospitality group Costley and Costley Hoteliers Ltd.
The full service creative agency has been tasked with creating a new family of ten brands that will reflect the individual entity of each of the Costley and Costley establishments, whilst maintaining the heritage that each existing brand already enjoys.
[Pictured: Paligap managing director Stephen Cosh and Costley & Costley Hoteliers Ltd managing director Bill Costley.]
Paligap will also create new websites for each establishment and an e-commerce store for a new Costley and Costley retail venture centering around the groups own manufactured produce.
Costley and Costley is an extremely successful business focused on top of the tree dining and hospitality. With hotels and restaurants such as Lochgreen, Brig o’Doon and the new Beresford, the company caters for a range of markets and has become recognised throughout the nation as one of the leaders in their industry.
Stephen Cosh commented: “We are delighted to be working with one of Scotland’s leading hoteliers. I have always admired what Bill Costley has achieved in such a crowded industry, and I’m looking forward to getting involved in the next exciting steps the business is taking.”
For further information:
1 Carrick Road
Ayr KA7 2RA
Contact: Stephen Cosh, Managing Director
Tel: 01292 263777
Fax: 01292 285334
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Friday, 27 November 2009
On course to build new Ayrshire links golf resort
PLANS to build a prestigious new multi-million pound links course on the west coast of Scotland close to Turnberry, Prestwick and Troon have taken a major step forward.
The Ayrshire Golf Company has completed negotiations with Irvine Bay Regeneration Company to construct a new 18-hole links course complete with adjoining hotel and a selection of fraction-freehold holiday homes next to the existing Dundonald golf course at Western Gailes.
To view a video podcast of Brian Keating, director of The Ayrshire and founder/developer of Machrihanish Dunes, outlining the vision of The Ayrshire golf resort: CLICK HERE
Construction of the par 71 golf course and hotel facility with clubhouse, professionals shop, spa, restaurant and conference facilities is now expected to start next year (2010) and should see the creation of around 250 construction jobs once final planning permission has been obtained from North Ayrshire Council.
The £60million project, known as The Ayrshire, will be overseen by the same team who were responsible for what has been dubbed the world’s most environmentally friendly golf course, Machrihanish Dunes.
“The project is very exciting, it’s the newest links course on the west coast of Scotland,” said Brian Keating, director of The Ayrshire and founder/developer of Machrihanish Dunes.
“We see the project as a bookend to Turnberry. One of the most exciting things for me is that it is in Ayrshire. A lot of people forget that while St Andrews is the spiritual soul of golf Ayrshire is definitely the heart of golf.
“It’s where the Open started and it’s close to Prestwick Airport which brings in hundreds of thousands of European golfers every year to play in Scotland.”
At Machrihanish Dunes developers worked closely with ecologists and Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) to ensure the handmade course caused as little environmental disturbance as possible.
The course was redesigned to avoid several rare plants and other sensitive wildlife while the greens were all cut and laid by hand. Even the rough was managed by a breed of rare Hebridean sheep instead of using a lawnmower.
“The Ayrshire site isn’t as environmentally sensitive as Machrihanish Dunes but it will still be a major consideration.” said Mr Keating.
“We will redevelop the land, which has had an assortment of industrial uses, and try to take it back to how it probably looked 150 years ago, as well as carefully restoring any damage that has occurred on the SSSI fringe of the site.
“Looking after the environment is vital when you’re building an authentic links course. We are the only people who have built a golf course on a SSSI site so you could say we are the most sensitive golf course developers in the country.”
On completion The Ayrshire will require the staffing of around 90 full time and 45 part time jobs ranging from green keeping staff to bar tenders, caddies and hotel managers.
“It is important for us to make The Ayrshire a pay to play course so that it is accessible to as many people as possible and not just another private members course“, said Mr Keating.
“The course backs onto Irvine, so visitors will be able to walk right into the centre of the town. If we can bring thousands of guests from across the UK and abroad to a hotel within walking distance of the central shopping precinct in Irvine there will be opportunities for everyone in the local community to benefit.
“I believe the project will fit very nicely with some of the other developments which are being planned by Irvine Bay Regeneration Company. We’ve seen some of their plans and we are keeping in step with them to make sure that what we are doing is compatible.”
It’s been estimated by the developers that around 25,000 rounds of golf a year will be played at The Ayrshire. If each golfer spends £200 locally, then the annual benefit to the economy will be £5million.
“We are delighted to get this agreement in place, and that we can hopefully see work begin on site next year,” said Patrick Wiggins, chief executive of Irvine Bay.
“The Ayrshire is one of our flagship projects and we expect it to play a significant role. Not only will it create jobs and wealth and improve the environment and appeal of the area, it also sends out a strong signal that dynamic development is alive and well in this part of the country, and that something very positive is happening in Irvine Bay.
“It is also important to us that this project will create jobs, and enhance skills in the area. We are also delighted that it will be pay as you play – opening up the course and encouraging visitors to the town as well as being accessible for local golfers.”
The creation of The Ayrshire has been welcomed by the Links Association, the international body that campaigns on behalf of links golf.
“The announcement of a new links golf course for Ayrshire is not only good news for the region but also for the future of sustainable golf,” said Malcolm Campbell, chief executive of the Links Association.
“Traditional links golf is the model for responsible golf development in the future. Brian Keating proved at Machrihanish Dunes that golf and ecological and environmental interests can work successfully together for the good of the community.
“The Ayrshire is an exciting project, and will do much to further enhance the region's claim as the heart of links golf.”
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Saturday, 21 November 2009
CKD Galbraith offer Edwardian villa with Loch views on Arran
CKD Galbraith and Arran Estate Agents are marketing a most impressive and well appointed Edwardian House enjoying a superb waterside setting, lying in the heart of Lochranza on the North Eastern coast of the Isle of Arran.
[NOTE: A full selection of photographs of Benvaren and its surrounds is available on Flickr. To view CLICK HERE.]
Benvaren is a superb family residence dating back to 1911. With delightful gardens, the villa has superb views set amid spectacular scenery. The accommodation includes 4 bedrooms, 3 reception rooms, kitchen (pictured below), utility rooms, 2 bathrooms and 2 shower rooms. The beautiful wood panelling in the Reception Hall, together with feature fireplaces, cornicing and picture rails all show a style typical of Edwardian Houses.
A former laundry and toilet, together with former maid’s room have Planning Consent to convert to a one bedroom annexe.
The mature and well kept gardens, which are a particular feature of the property, provide a wonderful backdrop slopping gently down towards the shore of the loch.
The village of Lochranza is truly stunning, lying snuggled in a sheltered valley along the edge of the loch, against an imposing backdrop of the surrounding hills. The nearby 17th century ruins of Lochranza Castle were once a royal hunting lodge and an earlier castle on the same site is believed to be where Robert Bruce stayed on his arrival from Ireland in 1306.
Often referred to as 'Scotland in Miniature', the Isle of Arran has the best of all the many characteristics of Scotland. From a rugged and mountainous interior in the north, green rolling hills and woodland in the south, the beautiful coastline with pretty villages and sandy bays benefits from the warm climate of The Gulf Stream. A ferry service from Lochranza provides a Summer link to the Kintyre peninsula, known as Arran’s “back door”, whilst a further regular service to the mainland operates from nearby Brodick.
Benvaren is probably one of the “hidden gems” of Lochranza and it is rare for such a property to come on the market.
Offers Over £485,000 are being sought for Benvaren. For further information please contact the selling agents.
7 Killoch Place
Ayr KA7 2EA
Contact: R A Cherry BSc MRICS
Tel: 01292 268181
Fax: 01292 292300
CKD Galbraith is one of Scotland’s leading independent property consultancies, with expertise across a broad spectrum of property-related services.
CKD Galbraith operates from 12 offices across Scotland, bringing the firm’s clients a wealth of experience in:
* Residential property sales and lets
* Commercial property sales and management
* Estate, farm and forestry sales and purchases
* Estates, farming and land management
* Building surveying
* Sporting holidays
* Holiday homes
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Monday, 16 November 2009
‘Thistle do’ nicely for tourism and golf in South Ayrshire
THE Senior Open Golf Championship, held at Troon in 2008 has been recognised by Event Scotland, after reaching the finals of the International Events and Festivals category of their 2009 Scottish Thistle Awards.
[Pictured: Tom Watson, runner up at the British Open Championship at Turnberry in 2009, and British Seniors Champion in 2007, 2005 and 2003.]
As one of the key golf events on The European Senior Tour, the Championship was contested over the links course at Royal Troon Golf Club, and attracted over 41,000 spectators and participants from 34 countries across the world.
Tours were arranged for key representatives to visit local attractions such as Burns Cottage, Culzean Castle and whisky tasting at Turnberry.
Another successful and new initiative was the introduction of a ‘Family Day’ with a range of special activities for children, which included clubgolf – an initiative linked to promoting junior golfing excellence.
A total of 36 tourism related businesses and events from all over Scotland were honoured at the awards, which are possibly the most coveted accolades in the industry, celebrating quality and innovation across a range of categories.
Provost Winifred Sloan said: “For the Seniors Open to reach the final of the Scottish Thistle Awards is a direct reflection of the hard work and commitment of all those involved in bringing the Championship to South Ayrshire.
“The event ranks as one of the biggest in the golfing calendar, and we were fully geared up to promote South Ayrshire as a vibrant and welcoming tourist destination - a message we were proud to repeat for the 2009 British Open Golf Championship held at Turnberry in this, the Scottish Year of Homecoming.
“Tourism and the economic benefits it brings is a key driver in South Ayrshire’s Council’s aim to establish this area as the most dynamic, inclusive and sustainable community in Scotland.
“On behalf of the Council, I extend my warmest congratulations to all those involved in ensuring the success of the Seniors Open, and their recognition at national level is richly deserved”.
Well over 200 entries were received for this year’s Scottish Thistle Awards. Each category has its own independent panel of judges, who work to a strict scoring system to determine the shortlist of entrants, finalists and eventual winners.
Now in their 18th year, the Event Scotland Thistle Awards are open to all businesses operating in Scotland’s tourism industry.
Bringing together organisations from every sector of tourism in Scotland, the Awards ceremony is staged annually at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre. The Awards celebrate the outstanding achievements of the finalists who are exemplars in their field and whose hard work and innovation has been commended by panels of their peers.
In particular the awards seek to recognise and reward:
* Excellence in Scotland’s tourism industry in all areas and at all levels.
* Quality service and products which reflect all that is great in Scotland’s world-reputed and foremost industry.
* Professionalism, innovation and creative thinking within the industry.
South Ayrshire Council: “Working to establish South Ayrshire as the most dynamic, inclusive and sustainable community in Scotland.”
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Friday, 13 November 2009
CKD Galbraith offer superior Ayrshire country house for sale
THE Ayr office of independent property consultancy CKD Galbraith is offering for sale a well appointed country house in Ayrshire with attractive gardens and a large enclosed paddock.
[CLICK ON ANY IMAGE TO VIEW / DOWNLOAD FULL-SIZE VERSION.]
Carston House (pictured above) is a superb refurbished and extended country house with grazing land in a secluded and attractive location lying close to the village of Drongan, approximately 8 miles from Ayr.
The property benefits from excellent views over the surrounding countryside and is in a convenient location for easy access to Ayr, Glasgow and beyond via the newly improved A77 and M77.
From Carston House, Glasgow city centre can be reached in approximately 50 minutes. In addition, there is a regular train service from Ayr to Glasgow, and Glasgow Prestwick Airport is only about a 20 minute drive away, offering regular domestic and international flights.
Carston House, which is believed to have originally been constructed around 1850, offers substantial family accommodation over two storeys comprising a large well-appointed kitchen/dining room, lounge, utility room, shower room, office/bedroom 5, bedroom 4 and impressive hall on the ground floor, and a spacious upper hall, 3 bedrooms and family bathroom on the first floor.
The property is in excellent order throughout and has been finished to an exceptionally high standard. A new kitchen (pictured above) has been installed in the last year. The property benefits from oil fired central heating and double glazing.
Adjacent to the house is a large garage, a small outhouse with fenced storage area, and a substantial glasshouse which extends to approximately 100’ x 40’. The grazing land extends to approximately 1.5 acres and sits adjacent to the house.
The garden is an excellent feature of the property with a fully enclosed and secluded landscaped sun trap garden to the rear of the property with a lawn, gravelled area, hedges and shrubs, gate with access to the paddock, and an extensive lawn to the front of the house which has been planted with a range of young trees, shrubs and hedges.
There is also a tarred drive and extensive gravelled sweep with spacious parking area for several cars. In addition, and adjacent to the house, there is a large glasshouse (approximately 100’ x 40’) with power, light and water and an uncovered gravelled working area. The glasshouse is of galvanised aluminium construction with dwarf block walls and hardcore floor.
There is also a detached garage (19’5” x 18’7”) and a useful small brick outhouse with slate roof (12’7” x 9’7”).
There is a paddock adjacent to the property of approximately 1.5 acres.
Carston House is a charming country house offering substantial family accommodation in a secluded yet highly accessible location.
R A Cherry BSc MRICS
7 Killoch Place
Ayr KA7 2EA
Tel: 01292 268181
Fax: 01292 292300
[Pictured: Bob Cherry, Director of independent property consultancy CKD Galbraith. Contact details above.]
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Scottish housing market is on the rise
THE worst of the housing market downturn is now past, with some areas of Scotland showing price increases, according to the latest Scottish House Price Monitor from Lloyds TSB Scotland.
[Pictured: Lloyds Banking Group Scotland chief economist Professor Donald MacRae.]
In the three months to 31 October 2009, the quarterly price index for the average domestic property in Scotland rose 0.7 per cent on the previous quarter. Following seasonal and mix adjusting, the average Scottish house price rose slightly from £152,561 to £153,605.
On an annual basis, Scottish house prices have fallen by 7.5 per cent. However, prices are now beginning to increase once more.
The volume of house purchase transactions is down 32 per cent on the levels recorded for the same period last year. The number of transactions reached its lowest point in May 2009 but has since been on an increasing trend with the number of transactions in October 33 per cent more than in May. Similarly, average house prices reached their lowest point in March, but have increased in four of the last seven months, providing further signs of a slight recovery in the Scottish housing market.
All areas continue to report an annual fall in prices ranging from -0.7 per cent in the South East (excluding Edinburgh) to -9.8 per cent in Dundee. Price movements in the latest quarter are particularly volatile with larger swings than normally experienced over the last ten years.
Lloyds Banking Group Scotland chief economist Professor Donald MacRae said: “Consumer confidence has recovered from the lows of one year ago, and is now back in positive territory, but is still below the levels of pre-credit crunch. The cost of borrowing has reduced for many mortgage holders while there is now a perceptible increase in the level of mortgage availability including first time buyers. The Scottish housing market is beginning to recover.”
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Tuesday, 10 November 2009
Philip Mancini is new UK ice cream champion
WHEN it comes to making ice cream, Philip Mancini takes some licking - and to prove it he has been officially crowned the ice cream king of Great Britain.
Philip swept the board at the national ice cream competition run by the Ice Cream Alliance, collecting five trophies including two champion of champions trophies.
[Pictured: Philip Mancini receives his awards from Zelica Carr, chief executive officer of the Ice Cream Alliance.]
The Mancini family has been making ice creams for 96 years, and Philip used the skills handed down through three generations to melt the judge’s hearts.
“To make great ice cream you need passion and dedication to ensure your product is so much better than anyone else’s,” said Philip, whose family business has been based at the Royal Café, New Road , Ayr since 1925.
“To me, ice cream should have a silky soft feel that melts in the mouth with flavours that light up your taste buds.
“We are always looking to try different ingredients and ideas to excite our customers. For example, we have just launched a new flavour called Blushing Bride which is made from smooth white chocolate ice cream and raspberry ripple puree.”
The Mancini ice cream business was started by Philip’s grandfather Antonio in 1913 and Philip is the third generation to run the business, and he is hoping his son Mark, who helped make the award winning chocolate ice cream, will become the fourth generation in the business.
Philip has worked in the business since he was a boy and when his father, Michael, retired in 1991 he took over the business with his sister Anna.
“We are very lucky to work in such a wonderful business. People love ice cream and no matter what the Scottish weather is doing people still want ice creams,” said Philip.
“We have customers who come from far and wide to sample our ice creams and why not - ice cream is the food of the gods!”
Philip’s haul included trophies for best artisan ice cream, best chocolate ice cream, best mango sorbet and a double champion of champions win.
He said: “We worked hard to get our entries perfect and I thought we may win one trophy but to get five is just incredible – I can’t believe it!”
Zelica Carr, chief executive officer of the Ice Cream Alliance, which runs the competition, said: “To win five trophies is a truly outstanding achievement by Philip and his family. They were up against extremely strong competition but their ice creams were exceptional.
“The ice cream industry continues to flourish and the quality and flavour is increasing every year. The industry is now worth more than £4 billion in the UK.”
The Ice Cream Alliance represents more than 750 businesses in Great Britain and Ireland involved in the manufacturing, retail and catering of ice cream and related products
The ICA has long established links with all Government bodies, particularly DEFRA and the Department of Health (DoH) and is continually involved in putting forward and supporting the views of its members.
Incorporated in 1944, and formerly known as The Ice Cream Association of Great Britain and Ireland, the ICA provides an ever-developing forum for suppliers, retailers, caterers and manufacturers of ice cream products.
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Double celebration as Julie wins ‘Best Travel Agent’ title
AYRSHIRE based travel agent Julie Muldoon is celebrating after Travel Counsellors was named the UK’s Best Travel Agent at the 23rd annual Guardian, Observer and Guardian Unlimited travel awards, as voted by its readers, regaining the title after winning the award for two consecutive years in 2006 and 2007.
This a double celebration for Julie, as this month she celebrates her 30 year career in travel, having worked in a number of high street travel agencies before joining Travel Counsellors four years ago.
“I love working in travel and can’t believe it has been 30 years since I started my career – the time has just flown by,” says Julie. “I joined Travel Counsellors because I wanted to provide my customers with a unique travel service, being available to them around the clock. This has obviously paid off as we have been given such a prestigious award as the UK’s Best Travel Agent. I am proud to work within an industry I love and within such an innovative, customer-focused company.”
Readers of the Guardian, Observer and Guardian Unlimited were asked to rate the quality of service they received on their holidays with Travel Counsellors scoring a highly impressive 99.7% overall in the category.
The awards took place in Bangkok, Thailand last month and were attended by over 100 travel industry professionals. Based on the longest running survey of its kind the questionnaires were completed by 19,248 Guardian, Observer and Guardian Unlimited readers, rating their experiences as excellent, good, fair or poor.
Travel Counsellors is one of the UK’s largest independent travel companies, with over 1,100 professional Travel Counsellors, working from home throughout the UK and overseas. Julie adds; “I would like to thank my customers who may have voted and helped us win this fantastic accolade. It is a public acknowledgement from my customers that the level of service I provide to them is a cut above the competition.”
The company, which now operates across seven countries and is the largest home-based travel company in the world, provides Julie with unrivalled support and award winning technology, enabling her to tailor-make travel arrangements for her customers at competitive prices. Plus because Julie works from home she is available to her customers at a time convenient to them, including evening and weekends. This unique level of personal service has also resulted in Travel Counsellors being one of the top scoring companies in the world when it comes to customer loyalty, with a world beating score of over 90% in its customer satisfaction survey.
David Speakman, Chairman and Founder of Travel Counsellors commented “Travel Counsellors attracts the cream of the industry, and this award reflects the unique level of personal service and exceptional travel advice that each and every one of our agents provides to their customers, and I would like to thank Julie, who has contributed to this success and our accolade as the UK’s Best Travel Agent.”
To speak to Julie about your travel requirements call 0845 058 7221, e-mail email@example.com or visit www.travelcounsellors.co.uk/julie.muldoon
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Monday, 9 November 2009
South Ayrshire Council launches affordable housing project
COUNCIL tenants, elderly and vulnerable residents in South Ayrshire may soon benefit from the first Council house building programme for more than 30 years.
[Pictured: Councillor Douglas Campbell, Portfolio Holder for Housing, with the newly agreed SHIP document.]
Agreed at a special meeting of South Ayrshire Council today, the proposed new Council houses form part of the Council’s Strategic Housing Investment Plan (SHIP) which aims to provide almost 500 additional houses for rent between 2010 and 2015, to be undertaken by the Council and local Housing Associations.
The plan will now be submitted to the Scottish Government, who provide the funding for social housing via the Affordable Housing Investment Programme.
If the Council’s full bid for funding is successful, a total of 68 new Council houses would be built in the North Ayr area.
In addition, building work is already scheduled for 61 new houses in South Ayrshire, in 2010/11 in conjunction with local housing associations, with a further 90 the following year.
Additional developments are also planned for Fisherton, Girvan, Ayr and Prestwick as part of the five year plan.
Commenting on the SHIP and the bid for additional money, Councillor Douglas Campbell, Portfolio Holder for Housing said: “The SHIP sets out how we intend to start increasing the availability of houses to rent across South Ayrshire.
“We know there is more be done to deliver the number of houses we need across the area. This needs to be balanced against the reality of what we can achieve in the present economic climate, given some of the financial constraints and pressures we face.
“In the course of the coming five years, we will continue to explore every opportunity to develop and build houses to rent for those most in need, but SHIP marks the first very positive step towards that goal.
“Moving on, I am particularly pleased that tenants, residents and landlords have all been involved and a South Ayrshire Registered Social Landlords’ Forum has been set up in order that we can further consult with members, listen to what they say and include this in the SHIP.
“We’re likely to know in December if our proposals to build the first new Council houses in this area for three decades will be successful, but the Council is already committed to improving and building on our existing stock of housing in order to meet increasing demand for houses to rent.
“Our strategy has taken into account the changing nature of this area and is forward looking in terms of how we can accommodate the needs of elderly, homeless and vulnerable people in this community and we will continue to do all we can to deliver on this.
“The SHIP is an important element in delivering the Council’s vision of making South Ayrshire the most dynamic, inclusive and sustainable community in Scotland”.
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Sunday, 8 November 2009
Former nightclub with development potential in Ayr for sale
A former nightclub with development potential in Ayr is being offered for sale.
Located on Nile Court, a prominent town centre location adjacent to High Street, the property offers an attractive development opportunity. Formed over three levels within a sandstone property, the 4,600 sq ft former nightclub has been finished to a shell standard throughout with full fit out required. The building would lend itself to retail or office use subject to local authority consent.
A spokesperson for the selling agents commented: “Nile Court lies around 50 yards from High Street, Ayr’s prime retailing location. As such, the premises offer a rare opportunity to acquire substantial freehold premises in a busy town centre location.”
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Saturday, 7 November 2009
Bar and restaurant in Ayr with development potential for sale
A fully fitted bar and restaurant with development potential is offered for sale in Ayr.
As its name suggests, The Waterside, located on the town’s South Harbour Street, occupies a prominent riverside location. The detached single storey property of stone construction comprises a bar, restaurant, beer garden and children’s play area, kitchen with walk-in chill, cellar and private parking.
A spokesperson for the selling agents commented “This attractive 3,145 sq ft property benefits from a high quality fit out, and sits within a site extending to 0.25 acres. We consider it is likely to appeal to a broad range of licensed trade operators, and also offers potential for alternative use.”
Whilst the property holds a current premises license under the terms of the Licensing (Scotland) Act 2005, there is also scope for residential, office or retail use subject to local authority consent.
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Friday, 6 November 2009
Cabinet Secretary for Justice Kenny MacAskill visits Ayrshire
THE Cabinet Secretary for Justice, Kenny MacAskill MSP paid an inaugural visit to the new Ayrshire Civil Contingencies Team offices, located in Robertson Road at Glasgow Prestwick International Airport.
[Pictured: Cabinet Secretary for Justice Kenny MacAskill and South Ayrshire Council Provost Winifred Sloan are pictured holding the plaque that the Cabinet Secretary unveiled during his inaugural visit to the new offices of the Ayrshire Civil Contingencies Team, located at Glasgow Prestwick International Airport, also pictured are representatives from North and East Ayrshire Council along with representatives from the agencies the team work with.]
Employees from North, South and East Ayrshire Councils, who previously worked in the Emergency Planning sections of their respective Councils, have now been formed into one Ayrshire Civil Contingencies Team. The Team was formed following discussions between the three councils about the benefits of merging this service. A Steering Group was formed to oversee the transition and future development of the service.
Since December 2008 the employees have been working together. Funding contributed by the Scottish Government enabled members of the Team to relocate, refurbish their office accommodation to meet their specialised needs and to update their IT capability.
After his inaugural visit, the Cabinet Secretary for Justice, Kenny MacAskill MSP said: “Working together with local authorities, law enforcement agencies and other organisations, we are committed to enabling our communities to withstand emergencies of all shapes and sizes where these cannot be prevented. We must use resources flexibly and pragmatically, and promote resilience across the public, private and voluntary sectors.
“The Scottish Government was happy to assist with the start-up costs for the Joint Ayrshire Civil Contingencies Team. This new service will ensure strategic priorities in Ayrshire can be identified together and decisions taken jointly about how the vital civil contingencies specialists are deployed.
“There has been a great deal of detailed work involved in creating this new service which will enable more effective multi-agency working and help the three Ayrshire Councils work together in preparing how they respond to any emergency incident in or affecting their council areas.”
The Team address all aspects of civil contingencies planning, which is governed by the Civil Contingencies Act 2004. Under this Act local authorities have been classed as a ‘Catergory 1 Responder’, giving the Council the same powers and duties as the emergency services. Each council has a statutory duty to respond to emergencies, their main role being to care for uninjured people who have been affected by an emergency incident, to assist and support the emergency services and to lead the recovery process.
The aim of the Team is to ensure that the Ayrshire Councils provide a high quality and effective emergency planning service, by working to wherever possible prevent emergencies taking place. If an emergency situation does occur, the Team will make sure that all Ayrshire Councils have plans and arrangements in place to respond to and counteract the effects of any emergencies that do occur.
The Provosts, Leaders, Chief Executives and members of the Steering Committee from North, South and East Ayrshire Council were present were representatives from Scottish Resilience Civil Contingencies Unit, Strathclyde Police, Strathclyde Fire and Rescue, NHS Ayrshire & Arran, Scottish Ambulance Service, Maritime Coastguard Agency, Glasgow Prestwick Airport and Scottish Environmental Protection Agency.
Everyone was welcomed to the event by South Ayrshire Council Provost Winifred Sloan who said: “Communities across Ayrshire are diverse, by having one highly skilled Ayrshire Team we know that we are prepared for whatever emergencies may face us in the future. The Team are involved in a range of ongoing training programmes and exercises so that they maintain their skills. The offices have been refurbished to meet their requirements so that they can help prevent emergencies arising and also to deal with them when they occur.”
North Ayrshire Provost Robert Rae said: “I am very pleased that the Ayrshire Civil Contingencies Team is now established. Thanks are due to all the staff who have brought about this successful merging. I welcome and support any initiative that means improved services to the public and prevents duplication of effort. The new Ayrshire Civil Contingencies Team does this.”
East Ayrshire Council Provost Stephanie Young said: “It is good to know that in the event of any contingency, we will be well prepared in Ayrshire. No one can predict what might happen in the future, but having this trained and capable team on hand gives us a measure of security. It is essential that East, North and South Ayrshire work together, and I am delighted to be present at the opening of this new base.”
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