The Elite Ayrshire Business Circle

The Elite Ayrshire Business Circle

Wednesday, 29 February 2012

South Ayrshire Council wins COSLA silver award for ebook innovations

South Ayrshire Council has won a prestigious silver award in the Service Innovation and Improvement category at the 2012 COSLA awards.

The award was made for the pioneering work being undertaken by the Council’s library service in developing ebooks.

The silver COSLA Award was welcomed by Councillor Margaret Toner (pictured above) who commented: “This is a fantastic achievement for the Council’s library service and I’m really thrilled that all the hard work on e-books has received national recognition.

“We’ve been keen to lead from the front on making our lending more accessible and flexible and this award shows that we’re getting it right and hitting that goal.

“In July 2010, we became the first Local Authority in Scotland to provide a free e-book and e-audio book downloadable service to Library users.

“This was followed in November 2011 with a world first for a Local Authority – the launch of an e-book, allowing it to be both borrowed via the ebook lending service and also purchased throughout the world via Amazon and as a POD (Print on Demand) item in paper form.”

The e-book “The Record of the Ayrshire Militia 1802-1883” was launched at Carnegie Library in November 2011 by Professor Dauvit Broun from Glasgow University and is available for sale on Amazon, making South Ayrshire’s local history information accessible to a global audience for generations to come.

Jill Cronin, South Ayrshire Council’s Head of Community Development was delighted with the COSLA award. She said: “This accolade reflects months of hard work by a whole team of people working together to try and create a new dawn for libraries across the world.

“On behalf of the library team, I am delighted we have won a silver award Service Innovation and Improvement, but the real winners are the library users.

“Embracing the new electronic technology and linking it to print on demand services literally means that no book should ever go out of print again!”

South Ayrshire Council is a Founder Member of the Elite Ayrshire Business Circle.

Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Planning permission gives green light to Ayr pink buildings

Approval of planning permission by South Ayrshire Council’s Regulatory Panel has given the green light for the first phase of a multi-million pound project to transform the historic gateway to Ayr town centre.

The £2.5 million Ayr Townscape Heritage Initiative (THI) – funded by the Council and the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) – will transform the ‘pink buildings’ on New Bridge Street through a sympathetic restoration and refurbishment programme that will ensure the special historical and architectural character of these buildings is properly maintained.

[Pictured: Councillor Peter Convery is joined by local elected members (left to right) Councillors Bill Grant, Robin Reid, Elaine Little and of Ayr Renaissance managing director David Bell to welcome the planning permission for the iconic pink buildings in Ayr.]

The works for 1-5 New Bridge Street will be carried out using traditional methods and materials and in line with best conservation practice. They include:

* the removal of the existing paint finish and repointing;
* new painted metal balustrade and balconettes;
* replacement skylight and stonework,
* new cast iron downpipes and gutters;
* new panelled double doors to the shop opening; and
* new painted metal gates at the entrance to the passageway.

Welcoming the approval of planning permission, Councillor Peter Convery, South Ayrshire Council’s Portfolio Holder for Sustainability and the Environment, said: “This is a key stage in the exciting project to give these landmark buildings the chance to shine as they should.

“I am delighted the works will be sympathetic to the conservation status and character of the local area, making a positive difference that will reaffirm the buildings’ iconic status as a fantastic gateway into the town.

“First impressions are so important and, thanks to these works, the pink buildings will definitely be making the right one in Ayr. I look forward to seeing the works get underway in the near future.”

Greig Mathieson, who owns a top floor flat at 1-5 New Bridge Street, said: “I’m really happy that planning permission has been granted and very excited to see how the building will look when the works are completed.

“It was the terrific character of the building that prompted me to buy my flat in the first place and it’s great that the look and feel of the outside will soon match the unique status of the building, making sure it’s eye-catching for all the right reasons.”

John Harkiss of Harkiss Developments Ltd, who own a number of commercial properties at New Bridge Street, added: "This is very good news for the buildings and is a definite step in the right direction to ensure there is an attractive and welcoming entrance to the town. I'm particularly pleased the project will see the removal of the existing paintwork and the restoration of the stonework so the building will look the way it was always intended to be. This is going to make a huge visual difference and help to promote the economic regeneration of the town centre."

The Ayr THI works, which are being managed by Ayr Renaissance on behalf of the Council, will not only ensure the character of the area is maintained, it will also provide the opportunity to encourage traditional conservation methods and techniques, support on-the-job training and raise awareness of conservation as a potential career.

Alan Macdonald, Chair of Ayr Renaissance, added: “This is yet another important milestone in the project to transform Ayr town centre, offering more job opportunities and improvements in the local environment and enhanced facilities. This will help boost both the local and national economies and ensure that Ayr continues to attract employment, tourism and expenditure for the benefit of everyone in the area.”

The application for listed building consent has been referred to Historic Scotland as required.

Work on the Ayr THI is expected to get underway in spring, subject to the conclusion of the procurement process, and will take around 18 months to complete.

South Ayrshire Council is a Founder Member of the Elite Ayrshire Business Circle.