The Elite Ayrshire Business Circle

The Elite Ayrshire Business Circle

Saturday, 2 May 2009

South Ayrshire Council report on Gaiety Theatre progress

A Community Engagement Event held within South Ayrshire Council’s County Buildings attracted an impressive array of key representatives from the Arts and Culture Community, to provide them with an update on progress and to enable them to help shape the future strategy for the Gaiety Theatre in Ayr.

The purpose of the evening was to provide members of the Arts and Culture Community with a first hand opportunity to hear about progress regarding the Gaiety Theatre and to enable them to contribute to and comment on the proposed process to be used to identify the correct partner to secure the long term future of the Gaiety.

Councillor Margaret Toner, Depute Leader of the Council and Portfolio Carrier for Arts and Culture said: “Vital to this process is developing a future strategy that takes into account community aspirations for the provision of arts, culture and performance. Securing a commitment from enthusiastic parties to work in partnership with the Council is crucial to its success.

“We want a preferred bidder to be nominated who would work in partnership with the Steering Group to establish a sound business case, an appropriate legal entity and a robust plan of action.”

In order to ensure that the future of the Gaiety is closely aligned with community aspirations the Council will continue to engage with key community organisations and others through this complex process.

The Community Engagement Event provided an opportunity for those attending to contribute to the process as well as being informed on progress to date.


South Ayrshire Council


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Friday, 1 May 2009

Frazer Coogans Solicitors warn of
impending licence application deadline

Frazer Coogans Solicitors are reminding all owners of licensed premises in Scotland about the fast approaching deadline for new licence applications.

[Pictured: Frazer Coogans solicitor Carly Young. Amongst Carly's specialisations is licensing legislation.]

Most owners of licensed premises and holders of off-sales licences will already be aware of the important changes now underway to licensing law in Scotland.

The transition or transfer period from the previous alcohol licensing legislation, the Licensing (Scotland) Act 1976, to the new legislation, the Licensing (Scotland) Act 2005, started on 1 February 2008. The transition period is running for nineteen months until the 1 September 2009. All licences and regular extensions under the old system in operation on 1 February 2008, when the transition period began, were automatically extended to 1 September 2009.

Under the 2005 Act there are two sorts of licence, and licensees need both - a Premises Licence, a licence authorising the sale of alcohol on the premises, and a Personal Licence which authorises an individual person to supervise or authorise the sale of alcohol. An applicant for a Personal Licence must be in possession of the new prescribed Licensing Qualification.

From 1 September 2009 the new legislation requires all licensed premises to have a nominated Premises Manager, who in turn must hold a Personal Licence to sell alcohol. There should be at least one Personal Licence holder on duty in licensed premises at all times.

If the local Licensing Board has not been advised of the Premises Manager by 31 August 2009, then the premises will not be allowed to open for the sale of alcohol from 1 September.

To apply for a new Premises Licence under the 2005 Act, a licensee must submit to the Council an Application Form (and the appropriate fee), an Operating Plan, and a Layout Plan. The provisions for the form of the Layout Plan are very detailed, and it is important that appropriate professional assistance is sought to prepare an acceptable Layout Plan.

Although the Scottish Government have given the impression that the application for the new licences is a straightforward one which most licensees can deal with themselves, in reality licensees will require to instruct the appropriate property professional who can provide a properly prepared Layout Plan of the Premises, and also to consult with their independent legal adviser to discuss and prepare their Operating Plan and the Application Form. Careful consideration is required of the detail to be incorporated in the Operating Plan and Application Form to avoid damaging complications at a later date.

Carly Young at Frazer Coogans Solicitors concludes: “The new licensing regime and the transition procedures will require licensees to undertake a substantial amount of preparatory work in advance of the final lodging date in order to ensure that the Application meets the necessary standards. In addition to the professional fees involved, the application fees for the new licence are set at a much higher level than those under the 1976 Act, and the high costs and the complexity involved in the transitional application process have led some licensees to seriously consider closing down their businesses prior to the start of the new licensing regime.

“But at Frazer Coogans Solicitors we can reassure licensees that with the proper professional advice and assistance the complexity of transition can be successfully negotiated.”

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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Clydesdale Bank reports continuing strong growth in Scotland

National Australia Bank Group, owner of Clydesdale and Yorkshire Bank, has released interim results for its UK operations for the six months to 31 March 2009.

Clydesdale Bank’s business banking network, with 77 locations across the UK and 16 in Scotland, has expanded its customer base by 5% in the six month period, as a result of strong customer retention and increased acquisition rates, reflecting the strength of the Clydesdale Bank brand.

In the last 6 months, business lending was up by 14%, representing £1.2bn of new money to support local business. This is part of £1.9bn of new lending, which included £0.6bn of new mortgage lending. The bank’s strong funding position was further improved by an impressive deposit performance - business deposits gained momentum at a national level, increasing by 15%. This level of deposit growth is almost five times higher than the industry average.

In Scotland, the Bank continued its strong performance with average lending growing by 16% - highlighting the Bank’s commitment to the local economy. In the last six months Clydesdale Bank increased lending by 21% in Glasgow, 7% in Dundee, 11% in Edinburgh, and 45% in Aberdeen. Clydesdale Bank’s traditional banking model ensures that every pound raised from local deposits is reinvested back into lending for local businesses. In the period, deposits grew by 7%.

Willie Mackie is Managing Partner at Clydesdale Bank's Ayrshire Financial Solutions Centre (FSC). He said: “These results clearly demonstrate how our traditional banking approach is helping local businesses to succeed. We are committed to supporting businesses in Ayrshire, and our clients tell us they like the fact that the money they bank with us goes back into supporting their local economy.”

Each one of Clydesdale Bank’s 77 business banking centres has a credit partner, allowing it to make fast, local lending decisions.

Willie Mackie concluded: “As a strong bank, our focus has always been on the traditional banking values that have served us well. As well as standing by our current clients, we have a strong appetite for helping well-run businesses grow and succeed. We are committed to further developing our support for new businesses in Ayrshire over the coming year.”

Clydesdale Bank is part of the National Australia Group. Clydesdale Bank was established in 1838 in Glasgow and has a proud history of innovation and support for Scottish industry and communities. With over 150 retail branches and a network of Financial Solutions Centres, Clydesdale is one of Scotland’s largest banks. The Bank is currently expanding its operations into the South of England with its innovative Financial Solutions Centres, offering customers a highly integrated business and private banking service.

Clydesdale Bank Financial Solutions Centres (FSC) offer Members a tailored range of business and private banking services under one roof. A team of specialist partners, each with considerable local experience, work together to provide Members with end to end solutions for their business and private banking needs. In addition to banking services, the FSCs also operate as a hub for local business, with a range of networking opportunities and meeting facilities available as a benefit of membership.

Clydesdale Bank
Financial Solutions Centre
43 Alloway Street
Ayr KA7 1SP
Ayrshire, Scotland

Contact: Willie Mackie, Managing Partner
Tel: 01292 272072
Fax: 01292 280202

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Thursday, 30 April 2009

Ayrshire Business Forum takes action to promote local economy

SINCE the demise of Scottish Enterprise Ayrshire, the Ayrshire Economic Forum and the Ayrshire Tourism Partnership, the newly formed Ayrshire Business Forum has been involved in several round the table discussions with a cross-section of pro-active business people from Ayrshire as they strive to ensure that the business and economic issues of the county are not lost.

The Forum has prioritised a number of areas for development to really put Ayrshire on the map, with action groups leading the way in developing an Ayrshire and Arran brand, establishing a new and effective Tourism Information Centre based at Prestwick Airport and supporting the recently formed Employment Task Force giving help and support during these troubled times.

William Mackie is managing partner at the Clydesdale Bank Financial Solutions Centre in Ayr and chairman of the Ayrshire Business Forum. He said “It is heartening to see Ayrshire businesses coming together under the umbrella of the Ayrshire Business Forum.

“It shows not only that this is a region passionate about business and economic issues, but also that it is a region willing to take ownership of the tasks in hand to help overcome difficulties and move forward to the next level.”

For more information:

William Mackie, Ayrshire Business Forum Chairman
Telephone: 01292 272072



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Tuesday, 28 April 2009

Brunston Castle Golf Course appoints
Cheryl Steven as general manager

BRUNSTON CASTLE Golf Course in Dailly, South Ayrshire, has appointed Cheryl Steven (31) as its new general manager.

Cheryl brings to her new post a wealth of knowledge and experience in the hospitality field. She has worked with several hotel groups, including Friendly Hotels, Choice Hotels, Lochside House Hotel, and Costley & Costley.

Most recently she worked for Swallow Hotels based at the Station Hotel in Ayr, firstly as revenue manager responsible for marketing and tourism. In this post she attended the PGA Golf & Merchandise Show in Toronto in 2004 and Orlando in 2005.

Cheryl was then promoted within Swallow Hotels to Group Conference and Sales Manager for the UK responsible for the Conference, Sales & Marketing for approximately 146 hotels.

This was her last post before taking a break to give birth to her daughter Olivia.

Cheryl has now returned to work, and taken up her new appointment as general manager of Brunston Castle Golf Course.

Speaking about her new post, Cheryl said: “I am very keen and proud to have joined and be part of Brunston Castle Golf Course.

“I have a fantastic team of employees and an excellent golf professional in Stuart Smith, and together we aim to put Brunston Castle Golf Course back on the map as the best parkland golf course in South Ayrshire.

“Hardly anywhere else in the world is there such an abundance of fine courses as those found in Ayrshire - the world-renowned championship links layouts like Prestwick, Turnberry and Royal Troon all spring to mind.

“However, Ayrshire boasts some real hidden gems, one of which being our very own Brunston Castle Golf Course, designed by the legendary golf course architect Donald Steel. Split by the Water of Girvan and sheltered by the rolling South Carrick Hills, our scenic course is speckled with mature trees and roundels.

“Having only opened for play in 1991, Brunston Castle has quickly established itself as a true and fair test of golf for players of all standards, not to mention a refreshing alternative to the numerous links courses that are found in its vicinity. The course’s blossoming reputation was underlined when chosen to host the Scottish Youths Amateur Championships in 2004 and the Scottish Boys and Girls Championships in 2007.

“Brunston Castle can offer tee-time availability seven days a week, and our clubhouse facilities extend to the provision of formal dining in our restaurant, the more relaxed environment of our lounge where you can enjoy one of our excellent bar meals whilst taking in the stunning views of the golf course and the impressive scenery beyond, or simply take in a refreshment whilst viewing the current sporting events on our widescreen television following a great day’s golf.

“My aim at Brunston Castle is to ensure that everyone has an enjoyable experience and a day to remember.”

Brunston Castle Golf Course
Golf Course Road
KA26 9GD

Telephone: 01465 811471
Fax: 01465 811545



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Monday, 27 April 2009

Braehead Foods cook school wins
five star quality assurance grading

THE new cook school at Braehead Foods has been awarded five star status by VisitScotland’s quality assurance team, who visited them in March during their first month of opening.

The company is understandably delighted with this accolade, which puts them as ‘exceptional and world class’ graded as a visitor tourist attraction and has compounded their first month of successful trading at the new cook school which cost £500,000 to set up with state of the art kitchen bays, cookery equipment and an onsite restaurant at their new £2.7 million pound Kilmarnock headquarters.

VisitScotland regional director Sandi Hellowell said: “This is great news for East Ayrshire and Scotland as a whole, and will certainly add an extra dimension to the tourism offering in the area. It is great to see businesses such as the Cook School at Braehead Foods continue to invest in tourism which is crucial to the ongoing success of the tourism industry in East Ayrshire and the wider area. This has real potential to be a centrepiece attraction and all involved should be commended on their efforts.”

To achieve a grading as a tourist attraction, the establishment is visited incognito and assessed on core and specific criteria depending on what type of tourist attraction they are. The assessors measure the visitor experience and expectation as well as accuracy of sales material, signage and offering, layout of facility and spaciousness, cleanliness, audience levels and participation, ability of guests to interpret information available during their visit and the overall presentation of the building and general update and lastly and importantly staff knowledge, appearance and efficiency.

The QA Scheme year runs from August each year to July the next and during each visit, the grading assessment, which carried out by a qualified tourism professional is not only made but information and advice is available from the quality advisor. The Quality Assurance scheme has been operated since 1995. It provides independent quality assurance and incorporates the inspection of properties for Thistle tourist signposting.

Aileen Stevenson is operations director at Cook School at Braehead Foods. She commented: “We are really delighted with this Visit Scotland accreditation. Opening a cook school is something that as a company we have been keen to do for some time. As a company Braehead Foods Ltd already have extensive experience in the food service sector but having esteemed Michelin starred chef Steven Doherty working with us sharing his catering experience has been invaluable. It’s always been our aim to provide informed and interesting culinary classes and events for both consumers and those working in the catering industry to strengthen their knowledge and enjoy cooking with some of Scotland’s finest ingredients under the guidance of our team at the cook school. I am especially pleased to see all their hard work paying off, and we look forward to working more closely with them in the future."

Cook School at Braehead Foods opened on 1 March. Course enquiries and bookings can be made by going online to or by calling 01563 550008.

Braehead Foods Ltd and Cook School at Braehead Foods source game from over 100 estates across Scotland, including venison, pheasant, partridge, grouse and rabbit. They supply London’s Smithfield Market for onward distribution and since 2003 have been exporting wholesale game to USA, France, Germany, Italy and Belgium. Founded in 1988 Braehead Foods has become synonymous with fine food and game. In April 2008, Braehead moved into their new purpose-built factory at Moorfield Park Industrial Estate, Kilmarnock. At 30,000 square feet it is more than six times larger than the previous factory and allows them to meet demand for more quality game and fine food distribution and processing. The new building is open plan, set over two floors and houses a state-of-the art processing area, cold storage and dispatch docks.



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