Saturday, 12 June 2010
South Ayrshire Council improvement is on the right track
South Ayrshire Council is on the right track with its improvement activities, according to a report published by Audit Scotland.
The Audit of Best Value and Community Planning Progress Report outlines the progress made by the Council since April 2009.
[Councillor Bill McIntosh, Leader of South Ayrshire Council.]
The progress report – which has still to be considered by the Accounts Commission – recognises the significant changes introduced by the Council over the last 12 months, including the substantial progress achieved against its improvement agenda.
It provides an update of the Council’s work to address the Accounts Commission findings (as set out in the 2009 report) as well as taking forward its own improvement agenda, and leads with the statement “South Ayrshire Council has made good progress.”
The report particularly highlights improvements in relation to the Council’s financial position, strategic leadership, putting in place the best value building blocks and establishing a culture of continuous improvement throughout the Council.
“We are well on our way,” said Councillor Bill McIntosh, Leader of South Ayrshire Council, “and Audit Scotland’s report confirms this.
“We still have a lot of work to do, and we fully recognise that. However, we can now move forward with a pride in what we have achieved to date and a renewed vigour in the challenges we face in the months and the years ahead.
“Our main consideration has to be to build on the work already undertaken to ensure we are in the best possible position to deliver for the people of South Ayrshire, and can meet the financial challenges which lie ahead for all corners of the public sector.
“Prudent financial management and strategic and proactive planning now underpins all that we do.
“We have created a real culture of improvement within the organisation, introduced a structured approach to management and leadership, improved our budget-setting processes and undertaken our first ever community conversations.
“However, we know there is still a long way to go before we become the most dynamic, inclusive and sustainable community in Scotland. Our commitment to achieving this is as strong as ever, and the Audit Scotland report will help shape the detail of how we go forward.
“We will continue to strive to make a difference for the people and communities of South Ayrshire, and this report confirms we are positively moving ahead.”
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Ayr Racecourse hosts bumper weekend of racing and entertainment
Heady mixture of music, racing and glamour proves a winner
By: Iain Ferguson
CHART topping acts, quality racing and lots of glamour - just some of the potent ingredients that combine to make Ayr Racecourse’s two-day June meeting one of the busiest of the year.
Saints and Sinners Racenight on Friday 18 June and Scottish Sun Raceday the following afternoon are on course to attract more than 15,000 to the track to enjoy the heady mixture of music, sport and glitzy glamour.
The influx of so many racegoers to the town over two days will also provide a huge spin-off in terms of tourism, with hotels, restaurants, bars and taxi operators all likely to enjoy a huge upturn in trade.
Alexandra Burke (pictured above) headlines after racing entertainment on Friday and Jamie ‘Afro’ Archer of X-Factor fame (pictured below) is the bill-topper on the Saturday.
Advance ticket sales for both days have exceeded expectations, with in excess of 9000 expected to attend on Saints and Sinners night and 6000 plus on Scottish Sun day.
Details of Alexandra’s 30-minute set are being kept under wraps, but it will almost certainly include her four big hits -‘Hallelujah’, ‘Bad Boys’, ‘Broken Heels’ and ‘All Night Long.’ The singing sensation will also be joined on stage by two male dancers.
Discos will play in both the Ayrshire Suite and Horseshoe Bar at the course following Alexandra’s appearance on an outside stage.
Jamie Archer, the singer with the big voice and big hair will take to the stage in the Ayrshire Suite on Saturday approximately 20 minutes after the last race, which is at 5.45pm.
And a source close to Jamie said this week: “Jamie really enjoyed his recent appearance at the Burns Festival in Ayr, and is looking forward to coming back to town. He promises a few surprises in his show this time round.”
After Jamie finishes his set a disco will play until 8.45pm, while upstairs in the Horseshoe Bar, The Floorstompers featuring Jim Prime of Deacon Blue fame will play for three hours after racing.
Both days also see the launch of the famous Ayr ladies competition, with bronze coins being awarded on both days to the ladies judged to be the best dressed by a panel of judges.
This year’s first prize and the top Ladies prize in British horse racing is a fabulous Vauxhall NEW Astra 5-door 1.4 turbo, sponsored by Kerr & Smith/Iveco Trucks. The runner-up will land a cruise courtesy of Stewart Travel, and third prize is jewellery from Alex Cairncross of Perth.
Coins will be awarded to best dressed ladies at a variety of racedays throughout the year, including Saints & Sinners Night and Scottish Sun Raceday. Up to 27 ladies will have a coin on William Hill (Ayr) Gold Cup Ladies Day on 17 September, and will each be asked to draw the name of a horse running in the William Hill (Ayr) Bronze Cup that day. The lucky lady holding the winning horse will land the star prize.
2-6 Whitletts Road
Scotland KA8 0JE
Tel: 01292 264179
Fax: 01292 610140
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Nothing standard about South Ayrshire Council service!
South Ayrshire Council has received a positive report card for its Building Standards Service – and it’s proved to be one of the top in the class.
The report – from the Scottish Government’s Building Standards Division – was produced following an audit of the verification function of the Building Standards Service.
[Pictured: Councillor Peter Convery, South Ayrshire Council’s Portfolio Holder for Sustainability and the Environment.]
The audit considered five different perspectives of what is known as the ‘balanced scorecard’: public interest, private customer, internal business, continuous improvement and finance.
Each of these areas is marked as either serious cause for concern, cause for concern, satisfactory, good, or excellent.
South Ayrshire’s Building Standards Service received two excellent (internal business and finance), two good (public interest and continuous improvement) and one satisfactory (private customer) marking, making it one of the top-rated Building Standards services in the country.
The role of the Council’s Building Standards Service is to protect and improve the health, safety and convenience of people using buildings.
It provides a wide range of services to the people of South Ayrshire including building warrants, building safety and regulation, housing grants, licensing, street naming and numbering, safety of sports grounds, engineering services, flood prevention, safety of reservoirs, disability issues, and property enquiries.
The Scottish Government’s report highlights the service’s excellent team working, the high level of experienced and qualified employees, its response rate and accessibility (in person, by telephone and online) as just some of its strengths.
Councillor Peter Convery, Portfolio Holder for Sustainability and the Environment, said: “Such a positive audit report is terrific news for the Building Standards Service and is testament to the efforts and commitment of every member of the team.
“This is a service that people tend only to be aware of it when they actually make use of it and although it isn’t the most high profile of our services, it makes a significant difference to the local environment in South Ayrshire.
“This is a significant period of change for the service as we move towards the establishment of pan-Ayrshire regulatory services, which will include Building Standards.
“We will work to ensure the strong leadership and the positive service attributes highlighted in this report continue as we move forward and will ultimately serve to benefit residents across the whole of Ayrshire.”
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Thursday, 10 June 2010
Clydesdale Bank reports strong half year results
National Australia Bank Group, owner of the Clydesdale and Yorkshire Banks, has released full year results for its UK banking operations for the six months to 31 March 2010.
• £2.2 billion of new business and mortgage lending advanced in the past six months
• On track to deliver £10 billion of new business and mortgage lending by October 2011
• New support initiative launched to help UK trading businesses ‘Invest for Growth’
• Average retail deposit volumes up 12% to £22.5 billion – double the industry average
• Retail deposits and longer term funding cover 105.5% of lending
• Underlying profit up 11% to £264 million
• Pre-tax cash earnings grew by over 17% to £81 million (from £69 million)
• At 31 March 2010, Clydesdale Bank PLC’s Tier 1 Capital Ratio was 8.8% (up from 8.2% as at September 2009)
• Strong liquidity with liquid assets of £10 billion – more than doubled in two years.
Chief executive Lynne Peacock (pictured above) said: “As our half year results clearly demonstrate, our consistent strategic direction has continued to keep our business and reputation strong during the toughest trading conditions in post-war memory.
“While there are now consistent signs of economic recovery, our cautious approach will remain until longer term trends are evident. Our clear focus remains on maintaining our strong capital position and supporting customers.
“Built on robust foundations, our UK operations are very well positioned to capitalise on future growth opportunities. It is clearly an exciting time in the market and we will continue to play to our strengths in driving shareholder value and supporting the communities in which we operate.”
Clydesdale Bank Financial Solutions Centre in Ayrshire senior partner Willie Mackie (pictured above) said: “We continue to support our customers across the Ayrshire & Arran region, and we are fully participating in our UK wide initiative to help trading businesses invest for growth.”
Financial Solutions Centre
43 Alloway Street
Ayr KA7 1SP
Contact: Willie Mackie, Managing Partner
Tel: 01292 272072
Fax: 01292 280202
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Wednesday, 9 June 2010
CKD Galbraith market beautiful contemporary house on Isle of Arran
CKD Galbraith and Arran Estate Agents are marketing a delightful contemporary house occupying a sheltered position in the charming village of Whiting Bay, on the South East coast of the Isle of Arran.
"Aorangi", which translates as “cloud of heaven” in Polynesian in New Zealand, was built in the early 1980s, and is constructed of timber to a Scandinavian design on a single storey under a tiled roof.
The situation of the house is extremely private with accommodation comprising a superb lounge leading out to a large decked area, spacious kitchen/family dining room with wood burning stove, 3 bedrooms (one en suite), master bedroom suite, family bathroom, utility and study.
The mature and well stocked gardens, which are a particular feature of the property, extend to about 0.45 acres in total.
At one time all that existed at Whiting Bay were a series of tiny settlements either on the shore or just above and behind it. The origins of some of these settlements are very ancient. On the hillside behind Largymore at the southern end of Whiting Bay are the Giants Graves, a prehistoric burial site. At the village’s northern end, Kingscross Point, a dun or fortified farmstead has been found dating back the better part of two thousand years.
Rather more recently, Kingscross was used by Vikings as a settlement and burial site, and it has been suggested that the bay to the south was named after them, with “Viking Bay” later becoming corrupted to Whiting Bay.
One of the local walks at Whiting Bay is Glenashdale Falls. A walk past farms and fields, along forest paths edged with ferns, mosses and lichens, and past the tumbled stones of prehistoric forts.
"Aorangi" is an attractive contemporary home on the edge of a popular village on the island, equally suitable for holiday letting potential or as a permanent residence.
A Guide Price of £345,000 is being sought for "Aorangi".
PDF on www.ckdgalbraith.co.uk
For further information:
Bob Cherry (CKD Galbraith) 01292 268181
Bob Brass (Arran Estate Agents) 01770 302 310
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.
Independent property consultancy CKD Galbraith’s Ayr Office is a founder member of the Elite Ayrshire Business Circle.
CKD Galbraith’s Ayr office:
7 Killoch Place
Ayr KA7 2EA
Contact: R A Cherry BSc MRICS
Tel: 01292 268181
Fax: 01292 292300
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Monday, 7 June 2010
New Ayr Campus one step closer following topping out ceremony
Ceremony marks milestone in the construction of
University of West of Scotland’s new Ayr Campus
University of the West of Scotland’s new £70 million Ayr Campus has entered the final phase of development, with a topping out ceremony taking place at the new campus site on 4 June 2010.
[Pictured at the topping out ceremony (left to right): South Ayrshire Council Provost Winifred Sloan, Professor Bill McKelvey of Scottish Agricultural College (SAC), Professor Seamus McDaid, Principal and Vice Chancellor of University of the West of Scotland, and Gordon Anderson of Bovis Lend Lease.]
The ceremony marked the structural completion of the new 18,000m2 campus by project contractor Bovis Lend Lease UK. The campus is being developed by University of the West of Scotland (UWS) in partnership with Scottish Agricultural College (SAC) and is situated on the Craigie Estate, next to the River Ayr.
Planned and designed by leading Scottish-based architects RMJM, and part-funded by the Scottish Funding Council (SFC), the development will see SAC joining UWS on the site. Shared facilities will include teaching and learning spaces, gym, refectory, library and computing labs.
The new Campus is part of the University’s £250million development programme and replaces its existing campus on the edge of the estate. It will create an innovative learning environment for over 4000 students.
Developed in consultation with the Natural Garden Society, Historic Scotland, Scottish Natural Heritage and the Scottish Wildlife Trust, the new Campus will provide Ayrshire with one of the UK’s most modern, environmentally friendly and sustainable Higher Education learning environments.
The new building is designed to the highest environmental rating – BREEAM Excellent (Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method) – adopting sustainable strategies within the design and operation of the new building.
Professor Seamus McDaid, Principal and Vice Chancellor of University of the West of Scotland, said: “We are delighted that our new Ayr campus, which will result in massive benefits not just for the University but the west of Scotland, is in the final phase of development.
“This unique campus facility will enable us to expand our course provision and develop an international dimension to our operations in Ayr, with a campus that will attract students from across the globe.”
Professor Bill McKelvey, Principal of SAC, said: “This marks another major step forward for SAC. The outstanding campus being built here in Ayr will help us offer future entrants to the land based industries of Ayrshire and Scotland an education suited to the challenges of the twenty first century. It underpins our commitment to thriving rural communities and a healthy environment.”
Mark Batho, Chief Executive of the Scottish Funding Council, said: “I am pleased to see that our funding has enabled the University to enter the final phase of building a stimulating, state-of-the-art campus with excellent modern facilities. This is also a great example of collaboration between the University and the Scottish Agricultural College and I am sure that the new facilities will be of great benefit not just to their students and staff but to the community and wider area.”
South Ayrshire Council Provost Winifred Sloan said: “I was very honoured to be asked to take part in this significant ceremony. The topping out ceremony will become an historic moment in the life of University of the West of Scotland’s new Ayr Campus. I am positive that having such an environmentally friendly building, with up to the minute facilities located in such pleasant surroundings will encourage increased numbers of students to apply to study there. In turn many of these students may decide once they graduate to live and work in Ayr or South Ayrshire, which will bring economic benefits to the area.”
University of the West of Scotland, Scotland’s biggest modern university, caters for almost 20,000 students and 2,000 staff with campuses in Ayr, Dumfries, Hamilton and Paisley. The University’s new campus is scheduled for opening in September 2011.
University of the West of Scotland
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