The Elite Ayrshire Business Circle

Saturday, 24 December 2011

Ayr Racecourse makes it eight awards in a row

By: Iain Ferguson

Corks were popping at Ayr Racecourse when it was announced that the track had been voted Racecourse of the Year 2011 for Scotland and the North East by The Racegoers Club.


It is the eighth consecutive year the accolade has been bestowed on Ayr, and underlines the course’s status as the premier racecourse in Scotland and the country’s only Grade 1 track.

The fantastic run of awards dates back to 2004, the first full year current owners Alan Macdonald and Richard Johnstone were at the helm.

Ayr has thrived, and as well as staging Scotland’s two most prestigious Festivals - the Coral Scottish Grand National Festival in April and the William Hill Ayr Gold Cup Festival in September - many major music acts have appeared at the course, including Alexandra Burke, Deacon Blue, Status Quo, The Saw Doctors, Stacey Solomon and The Overtones.

In addition, facilities at the track have greatly improved in both Club and Grandstand areas. All racecourse catering has been in house for the last 6 years, and is currently headed by renowned executive chef Donald McInnes.

The Racegoers Club has more than 6,500 members who are all active racegoers. Ayr has now won the award 18 times since 1990.

Ayr Racecourse sales and marketing manager Lindsey Smith said: “It is a great honour to have won this award again, which means we are retaining our popularity with our core audience. I’d like to thank everyone at the Racegoer;s Club who voted for us.”

To find out more about racing at Ayr you can visit www.ayr-racecourse.co.uk or call 01292-264179.

For further information please contact Iain Ferguson on 01292-294972 or 07795-565691.

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

Thursday, 22 December 2011

Christmas Message from John Scott, MSP for Ayr


I am grateful for this opportunity to wish all local people a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Most of us will enjoy the festive period with our family and friends, but many others will not be able to share Christmas with their loved ones. This may be because they are working in our emergency services, such as the NHS, police or fire service, or because their family are members of our armed forces and stationed abroad. At this time of year it is important that we remember them and thank them for their work on our behalf.

Christmas is also a time to take particular care of those who are elderly, ill or alone. The best present can often be as simple as a kind act, a helping hand or just some company.

It is the love, compassion and companionship of our friends and neighbours that enrich us in the most meaningful way, and that is a lesson we should embrace not only at Christmas but all year around.

I wish everyone a merry Christmas and a very happy and, most importantly, peaceful New Year.

John Scott, MSP for Ayr

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Christmas Message from South Ayrshire Council 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 continuing global financial crisis has caused deep concern for individuals and businesses alike and we all hope 2012 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 service men and women on active duty in 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 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.

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 2011 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!

Provost Winifred D. Sloan

Christmas Message from Bill McIntosh, Leader of South Ayrshire Council


As Leader of South Ayrshire Council I have been looking back on 2011 and through hard work, determination and commitment a lot has been achieved.

2011 started with very cold weather, when our roads maintenance teams did an outstanding job, out in horrendous weather gritting roads to keep people moving in and around South Ayrshire. Their dedication is the same type that employees across the Council show while carrying out their duties, determined to do the best possible job they can.

Like every household across the country, we have to ensure we use every penny of the funding available to us as wisely as possible, and are committed to doing this.

We have made it quite clear that our aim is to be the most improved Council in Scotland and we have achieved this by being ambitious, forward thinking and responsive.

Being responsive is vital, which is why we carry out consultations or invite people across South Ayrshire to give us their opinions on a range of topics including customer services, land use, parking, access for dogs, housing and much more.

I would like to thank everyone who has taken part in any of our consultations during 2011, your input has helped to shape the future of our services.

We have achieved so much this year across all our services: we built the first new Council houses in the area for more than 30 years; a new £1.5 million eco-friendly primary school – the first of its kind in the South Ayrshire Council area – opened in Colmonell; our Customer Contact Centre, which has dealt with over 100,000 calls from the people of South Ayrshire and beyond celebrated its first birthday; we introduced paying for parking by phone at some of our car parks and exceptional academic achievements at primary and secondary schools.

These are just a few of the outstanding things that, working together with communities across South Ayrshire we have achieved. I could go on, this is just a flavour of our accomplishments.

In 2012 we will face many challenges and we have to work together to deal with them. If we work together in partnership we will be much stronger and achieve so much more.

In May there will be local elections, when people across South Ayrshire will have the chance to select the people who they would like to represent them as Councillors. None of us know what the results of the elections will be, or what the make-up of the Council will be.

However, I am certain of one thing, that the Council is on the path to success and that it will go from strength to strength in the future.

On behalf of the Council, I would like to wish everyone a very Happy Christmas and a peaceful New Year.

Councillor Bill McIntosh

Sunday, 18 December 2011

CKD Galbraith reports that Scotland’s property letting market is booming

The lettings market for residential property in Scotland, including Ayrshire is thriving according to Scotland’s leading independent property consultancy CKD Galbraith, as many would-be property owners are continuing to rent during uncertain economic times.

The firm, with six regional lettings divisions throughout Scotland, has reported a higher than average rental value than the Scottish national average, with demand remaining strong in the lettings sector where lending is still somewhat stringent in some segments of the market.

CKD Galbraith’s latest lettings report for Quarter3 (July-Sep) highlighted average rental values of £701 per calendar month (pcm) with it taking on average 36 days to let out properties. During the same period, Citylets reported that the Scottish national average rental price was £670pcm with the average property being let out within 38 days of coming to market.

2011’s Scottish national average is an all time high and is up 3.2% on Quarter3 2010, research by Citylets shows.

CKD Galbraith’s regional offices reported the following average rental values for Quarter3, which takes into account the full range of properties let out by the firm in the area:

* Ayr – average rent of £636pcm

Average time to let out a property – 35 days

* Galashiels (covering the Scottish Borders) – average rent of £558pcm

Average time to let out a property – 49 days

* Inverness (covering Inverness-shire and the Highlands)– average rent of £572pcm

Average time to let out a property – 28 days

* Cupar (covering Kingdom of Fife) – average rent of £903pcm

Average time to let out a property - 49 days

* Perth – average rent of £715pcm

Average time to let out a property – 42 days

* Stirling (covering Glasgow and Stirling areas) – average rent of £823pcm

Average time to let out a property – 15 days

Shirley Kenyon, head of CKD Galbraith’s lettings department, said: “Demand for private rental properties is showing no sign of decline and the choice of accommodation for tenants is increasing as more rental properties come on to the market. These rental levels are area specific due to regional market conditions but demonstrate an excellent return on capital investment for landlords.

“There is no doubt that the swell in popularity of rented accommodation is caused by the continuing difficulties that would be homeowners are facing in financing their first purchase. However, more recently there has been an emergence of a new sector in the lettings market - an increasing number of middle aged owners taking the decision to sell their family home and rent, particularly in the middle to top end of the property market, whilst they monitor market conditions or alternatively decide to have less responsibilities, more disposable income, and take the positive decision to rent for the remainder of their life.”

As we enter the New Year, CKD Galbraith envisages the lettings market to remain robust and already have a number of properties covering all categories across the country lined up to come onto the market for 2012.

Currently for let through CKD Galbraith:


* 82 Doonfoot Road, Ayr (pictured above): Spacious family home with 4/5 bedrooms located in excellent area of Doonfootwith easy access to Ayr & A77 - £1,100 pcm


* Pumpherston Farmhouse, West Lothian (pictured above): A substantial five bedroom farmhouse recently refurbished and situated in mature garden grounds - £1250 pcm

* 5 Collairnie Cottage, Collairnie, Cupar: A charming two bedroom detached country cottage enjoying country views over farmland - £650 pcm

* Charleston, Stanley, Perthshire: Traditional four bedroom farmhouse set in 1.5 acres offering spacious and flexible accommodation - £1295 pcm

* 1 Bluecairn Cottages, Bowhill, Scottish Borders: Traditional semi-detached country cottage on Bowhill Estate recently redecorated offering three bedrooms - £425 pcm

* The Old Post Office, Glen Mazeran, Tomatin Inverness-shire: Beautiful converted old post office offering comfortable accommodation in a peaceful rural location - £675 pcm

CKD Galbraith’s lettings division recently became a SAFEagent thus being able to guarantee that tenants’ and landlords’ money is protected by a client money protection scheme.

The firm has also introduced QR (quick response) codes which enables smart phone users to gain instant access to particular properties available on the firm’s lettings website, relevant to the area in which they are seeking residential property to rent. A marketing tool which CKD Galbraith believes has led to a reduction in the average time taken to let out properties.

About CKD Galbraith

CKD Galbraith is an independent property consultancy specialising in serving the needs of private clients. It employs over 200 people in offices in Edinburgh, Perth, Stirling, 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 enjoys a successful relationship with its associate firm in London, CKD Kennedy Macpherson.

CKD Galbraith’s Ayr Office is a Founder Member of the Elite Ayrshire Business Circle.