The Elite Ayrshire Business Circle

Saturday, 12 February 2011

South Ayrshire Council approves road ahead for its spending priorities

THE road ahead for South Ayrshire residents is looking much improved this week as South Ayrshire Councillors approved additional spending on roads of £1.5 million for 2011/12, bringing total roads spending for the year to more than £10.5 million – the Council’s biggest ever roads investment.

Elected members approved the additional funding for roads, which equates to around 15 per cent of the overall spend, in response to issues raised by members of the public during the Council’s Big Budget Challenge, which ran from November until January to get feedback from local residents on where the Council should make savings, spend less money and prioritise its spending.

Almost 1,000 responses were received, with roads topping the bill for many residents as the number one priority for Council spending.

Councillors took that feedback on board at this week’s special meeting of South Ayrshire Council as they agreed spending priorities for the 2011/12 revenue budget of £265.849 million – a reduction of £3.337 million on last year’s budget.

They also agreed to freeze Council Tax levels for the fourth year in a row, which will benefit every household in South Ayrshire. This keeps Band D Council Tax at the 2007/08 level of £1,153.95.

The revenue budget funds the running costs of the Council’s operations, including the costs of employing more than 5,000 staff, operating Council facilities and supporting the capital programme.

Other priorities approved by the elected members were an additional £1.079 million to improve the care provided to older people and disabled adults, which included £341,000 to deliver care packages for older people; £162,044 to provide residential care for physically disabled and learning disabled adults; and £118,400 for in-house homecare.

Care for young people received a boost with an additional £551,724 allocated to children’s services including £345,570 for care packages for children and young people with disabilities, helping them live as full a life as possible; and £79,113 for additional pupil support assistants and additional support needs nursery nurses.

To continue the Council’s work to improve sustainability and the local environment, £189,450 has been allocated to Zero Waste projects that promote recycling as well as the Joint Ayrshire Waste Project, which is being developed to create a sustainable alternative to landfill.

Councillors approved funding to help South Ayrshire become the best place for business, tourism and leisure with the first £200,000 towards the major redevelopment of South Carrick, which they approved in December, and £75,000 to support events development that will bring major tourist events to the area. They also committed £1.439 million to continue to support community planning.

The 2011/12 revenue budget includes a total of £9 million in efficiency savings – £5.5 million of which were approved during 2010/11. The remaining £3.5 million approved at today’s meeting includes savings of £1.5 million generated by a review of opening/operating hours, £250,000 through primary school rationalisation and £790,000 through the maximisation of income.

The Council also agreed to retain uncommitted general reserves of around £11 million.


Councillor Bill McIntosh, Leader of South Ayrshire Council (pictured above) said: “I am very pleased we can deliver a budget that continues to invest in the services that matter to our residents and genuinely make a difference for them.

“While we have to balance cuts in funding against increased demand in services, we are listening to what the people of South Ayrshire are telling us and working better and smarter with a real focus on customer service, service delivery and best value.

“That’s why today we have approved the Council’s biggest ever investment in our roads infrastructure and provided additional funding to support the more vulnerable members of our society. However, we do need to be clear that times are tough and more challenges lie ahead.

“We have focused on efficiencies to generate the savings we require and have worked to get as much as possible out of every penny and every pound – that is exactly what our budget achieves.

“We are moving forward in an ever-tightening economic environment; however, thanks to strong leadership, collaborative working and responsible governance, South Ayrshire Council is now in a much stronger and healthier place and match fit for the challenges that lie ahead.

“This is a good budget in difficult times and we will continue to build on this to put our customers first and consolidate our position as the most improved Council in Scotland.”


Councillor Nan McFarlane, Leader of the SNP Group and Portfolio Holder for Social Services (pictured above) said: “Thanks to the collective efforts of the SNP and Conservative groups and our independent elected members, we have approved a budget today that will make a significant difference to many in our communities. Even in these difficult financial times with demand outstripping the resources available, this is a good budget that prioritises the services that matter most to our residents.

“As the Council’s ‘champion’ for older people and children and adults with disabilities, I am especially pleased there is significant investment in care provision that will give those who need it the chance to improve their quality of life and reach their full potential, particularly with a rising elderly population. As a champion for equalities, I am also pleased the budget has been impact-assessed for equalities and there are no significant concerns.

“We have surpassed ourselves in terms of reserves and we now need to consider – in a careful and planned way – how we manage these. Every penny we invest has to help improve the outcomes for our communities whether that’s in terms of equalities, health or economy. This budget helps achieve this as well as our aim of being the most improved Council in Scotland.”


Speaking on behalf of the Independent elected members, Councillor Douglas Campbell (pictured above), who is also Portfolio Holder for Housing and Customer First, added: “Creating a balanced budget this year has been made even more difficult because we don’t know what will happen to our funding allocation over the next three years. This means that we have had to be wary this year about how we use every penny.

“Our priorities are very much focused on giving our children the best possible start for the future and support for older people.”

The Council’s capital programme for 2011/12 was also approved at today’s special meeting, with spending of £12.873 million agreed – a reduction of £2.476 million on 2010/11.

Education is very much at the heart of the capital programme with a total of £9.3 million dedicated to improvements in schools, including:

* £2.86 million to renew the dining hall and construct a school extension at Heathfield Primary;

* £2.05 million to refurbish Forehill Primary;

* £1.4 million to refurbish Braehead Primary;

* £600,000 towards a new-build Kirkmichael Primary;

* £500,000 towards the refurbishment of Marr College;

* £441,667 towards a new-build Ayr Academy;

* £300,000 to fund ongoing improvement works at primary schools (based on two per annum); and

* £350,000 for curricular upgrades and ICT replacement within schools.

In addition, the capital programme includes:

* £1 million to create one stop shops in Ayr, Maybole, Prestwick and Troon, putting customer service right at the heart of communities;

* £400,000 to ensure Council facilities and amenities comply with the Disability Discrimination Act;

* £375,000 to improve the Council’s technology infrastructure;

* £200,000 for bridge strengthening at Skeldon Bridge;

* £100,000 to improve public toilets in Ballantrae, Dunure, Maidens and Maybole;

* £100,000 to replace and improve lighting in Kildoon Drive, Kincraig Avenue and Queens Terrace in Maybole;

* £50,000 to create pontoons and safety features around Girvan Harbour in conjunction with the Sailwest project; and

* £50,000 for initial works to extend burial ground in Ayr Cemetery.


Councillor Robin Reid, Portfolio Holder for Resource and Performance (pictured above) said: “For 2011/12, we are looking at a significant reduction in our capital programme of some 16 per cent and we have to ensure we put the funds we do have available to the best possible use.

“The programme we have approved is very much about delivering for the future and we are certainly doing that in more ways than one with a significant focus on investment in education – both the actual bricks and mortar as well as the infrastructure needed within schools to help deliver Curriculum for Excellence and ensure our pupils enjoy the best possible opportunities.

“We’re also taking steps to transform our customer service delivery with four new one stop shops that bring together many of our frontline services in one location, making it easier than ever for residents to access Council services.

“This is testament to our commitment to doing the best we can with the resources available and our capital programme will deliver much improved facilities and positive outcomes for communities from one end of South Ayrshire to the other.”

South Ayrshire Council is a founder member of The Elite ayrshire Business Circle.

Friday, 11 February 2011

Elite Ayrshire Business Circle meeting at Ayr Spice Indian Restaurant

The latest meeting of the Elite Ayrshire Business Circle took place today Friday 11 February at Ayr Spice Indian restaurant in Minishant, South Ayrshire. Our kind host was proprietor and head chef Mafiz Ali. Members and guests enjoyed a sumptuous repast of Indian and Bangladeshi cuisine of the highest order - one of our most enjoyable meetings, thanks to Mafiz and his colleagues.

Ayr Spice Indian Cuisine
22 Ayr Road
Minishant
Ayrshire KA19 8EX

Telephone: 01292 441413
Web: www.ayrspice.co.uk

Photographs by Bill Taylor.





Thursday, 10 February 2011

Get your tickets for the Save the Children Spring Fling

THERE is still just time to purchase tickets for the Annual Spring Fling in aid of Save the Children.

The Spring Fling takes place on Saturday 26 March 2011, at Malin Court Turnberry, 7pm for 7.30 dinner and dancing with the band Rumour Has It, great raffle prizes and fun. £32 per head, includes glass of wine on arrival and an excellent menu provided by Malin Court.


Rebecca Cadie is Chair of the Maybole and District branch of Save the Children, who are organising the event.

Rebecca said: “Tickets are £32 each, there will be a raffle, games, a delicious meal and plenty of dancing with the lads who have played the last couple of years - Rumour has It (getting rave reviews after their Christmas party-night bookings). Tables are going to be informally arranged to suit party sizes this year. This is always one of our most enjoyable fundraising nights and it's a lively night catching up with regular supporters and friends. Hope to see you - and let me know, as we have limited tickets and we expect them to go! Telephone 01292 289777 day, 01655 882106 evening.”

Contact:

Rebecca Cadie
Director
ARPL Architects Ltd
Architects and Quantity Surveyors
11 Wellington Square
Ayr KA7 1EN
Ayrshire
Scotland

Tel: 01292 289777
Fax: 01292 288896
E-mail: rcadie@arpl.co.uk
Web: www.arpl.co.uk

Monday, 7 February 2011

Demand for Scottish property increases says RICS Housing Market Survey

THE Scottish housing market saw a marked increase in the number of potential buyers enquiring about property for sale in January says the latest RICS UK Housing Market Survey.


Scotland was the area of the UK which saw the biggest increase in demand for property. Sixteen per cent more surveyors reported demand for property in Scotland rose rather than fell (from -15 in December). While many potential purchasers remain cautious about the outlook for the economy and the possibility of mortgage rate increases later in the year, the new year seems to have been an incentive for others to look to move house.

New instructions, which indicate supply levels to the market also rose into positive territory in Scotland for the first time in four months indicating stability in the market. One percent more surveyors reported the number of new instructions to sell in Scotland rose rather than fell (from -13 in December).

Continuing the positive news, sales expectations for Scotland also increased in January with 40% more surveyors saying they expected more sales rather than fewer.

Meanwhile, 76% of surveyors in Scotland said house prices had stayed the same, 4% said they had risen and 19% said they had fallen in January with a net price balance of -11. Although negative, this net price balance has now improved for three months in succession and stands at its best level since September last year. (Compared with -31 for England and Wales in January).

The number of newly agreed sales in Scotland remained in negative territory although it edged up from December. Twenty one per cent more surveyors reported newly agreed sales numbers had fallen rather than risen (improved however from 41% saying this in December).

Commenting, RICS Scotland director Graeme Hartley (pictured above) said: “While some areas of Scotland’s housing market bring us good news and indications of stability in the market such as the number of potential purchasers and the number of homes coming on to the market, uncertainty over the prospects for employment, alongside the shortage of mortgage finance particularly for first-time buyers continues to weigh heavily on transactions levels.”

RICS housing market survey is the longest running monthly survey of house prices in the UK, collecting data since January 1978. The survey is cited by the Bank of England’s monetary policy committee at its monthly interest rate setting meetings.

About RICS

RICS is the world’s leading qualification when it comes to professional standards in land, property and construction.

In a world where more and more people, governments, banks and commercial organisations demand greater certainty of professional standards and ethics, attaining RICS status is the recognised mark of property professionalism.

Over 100 000 property professionals working in the major established and emerging economies of the world have already recognised the importance of securing RICS status by becoming members.

RICS is an independent professional body originally established in the UK by Royal Charter. Since 1868, RICS has been committed to setting and upholding the highest standards of excellence and integrity – providing impartial, authoritative advice on key issues affecting businesses and society. RICS is a regulator of both its individual members and firms enabling it to maintain the highest standards and providing the basis for unparalleled client confidence in the sector.

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There are currently 828 Ayrshire business stories permanently archived on this site. To locate those of most interest to you, please use the site search facility in the top right hand corner of this page.

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Ayr Racecourse wins prestigious Neil Wyatt Ground Staff Award

By: Iain Ferguson

Ayr Racecourse has won one of the most prestigious honours in the racing industry - the Neil Wyatt Ground Staff Award for the Best Dual Purpose Course.

This is only the second time Ayr has received this recognition - having previously been successful in 1996, the inaugural year of the award.


[Pictured: The award winning Grounds Team at Ayr Racecourse.]

Clerk of the Course Emma Marley said: “We are overjoyed to be voted winners of the Neil Wyatt Dual Purpose Racecourse Award for 2010. The Grounds Team have worked remarkably hard over the past year to achieve wondrous results with the racing surface and to restore confidence within the racing community.

“Ayr Racecourse Directors have, and continue to be, extremely supportive of our initiatives and have invested significantly to enhance the racing surface and introduce portable fences. We would like to thank all Trainers, Jockeys and Owners who have supported us over the year and who have made this industry recognition possible.”

The Judging Panel was pleased to reward the significant improvements at Ayr Racecourse. In particular they recognised the professionalism, level of investment and communication by the racecourse which has resulted in strong support for the team from trainers and jockeys.

Judging of the awards took place on Thursday 20 January 2011 and the panel comprised representatives of the National Trainers Federation and Professional Jockeys’ Association, with support from the BHA Inspectors of Courses. The Awards, organised by the Racecourse Association and sponsored by Pitchcare.com in association with ALS and Fornells, are in their fifteenth year and recognise the achievements of racecourse groundstaff.

Richard Linley, Senior BHA Inspector of Courses, said: “The vagaries of the British climate have yet again challenged Groundsmen around the country during 2010, the huge effort and commitment demonstrated by those Groundsmen to their Racecourses never ceases to amaze me. It must never be forgotten that it can be just as difficult to manage sports turf in the height of summer as well as in the depths of winter, swapping frost covers for irrigation equipment and in each case trying to manage the expectations of all the participants and customers. There are only three Official winners, but there are many winners in my eyes, and appropriate this year that the All Weather Courses are recognised for their significant contribution to the industry during 2010 with special Merit Awards.”

Rupert Arnold, of the National Trainers Federation, said: “Reading the nominations I was struck by the amount of good work going on around the racecourses by very dedicated teams of groundstaff. Much of this is unseen by those outside racecourses and the great value of the Neil Wyatt Groundstaff Awards is they bring the outstanding examples to a wider audience”

Dale Gibson from the Professional Jockeys’ Association said “We have all appreciated the hard work and commitment that Groundstaff put in day in, day out. Recently the severe weather has made their job harder. The PJA recognize that, and in our eyes the majority of courses are all winners. The four safety officers submitted their nominations to those tracks that they thought were outstanding, which all received recognition.”

Other awards went to Salisbury for the best flat track, and Market Rasen for the best jumps track.

For further information please contact Iain Ferguson on 07795 565691.

Ayr Racecourse and the associated Western House Hotel are Founder Members of the Elite Ayrshire Business Circle.

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There are currently 827 Ayrshire business stories permanently archived on this site. To locate those of most interest to you, please use the site search facility in the top right hand corner of this page.

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Sunday, 6 February 2011

Elite Ayrshire Business Circle lunch at Ayr Spice Indian Restaurant

Members, guests and all Ayrshire business people are cordially invited to join us at the next lunchtime business networking meeting of the Elite Ayrshire Business Circle, which will be held at 12.30pm on Friday 11 February at Ayr Spice Indian Cuisine in Minishant, South Ayrshire.


As well as providing the usual business networking opportunities, the meeting will give members, guests and friends the chance to meet celebrity TV chef Mafiz Ali (pictured above) and sample a sumptuous platter of his renowned Indian / Bangladeshi cuisine.

All welcome, but in order to assist with catering arrangements, please telephone 01292 281498 as soon as possible to advise that you will be attending.

LINK:

South Ayrshire Council Events

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