The Elite Ayrshire Business Circle

The Elite Ayrshire Business Circle

Thursday, 8 March 2012

Prestwick Airport to be sold, announces New Zealand owner Infratil

Glasgow Prestwick Airport is being put up for sale by its New Zealand owners, Infratil.

Infrastructure investment company Infratil said it will also look for a buyer for Manston Airport in Kent.

Prestwick, which is budget airline Ryanair’s Scottish base, has a terminal capacity of three million and is situated in Ayrshire, about 45 minutes from Glasgow.

Glasgow Prestwick Airport chief executive Iain Cochrane (pictured above) said: “At the Infratil Investor Day today in New Zealand, it was announced that Infratil intends to sell both Glasgow Prestwick and Manston airports.

“This decision comes from a re-focusing of Infratil’s investment profile and has been under consideration for some time. It’s consistent with Infratil chief executive Marco Bogoievski’s public comments over recent months.

“Prestwick is a great airport with a great team and a great future. I believe this is an excellent opportunity for us to attract new investment into the airport to provide the stimulus for future growth.

“Today, it’s business as usual as the busy summer season approaches and we’re totally focused on looking after our customers.”

Leading children's writers announced for Book Event at Turnberry Resort

On Thursday 5 April 2012 Turnberry Resort in Ayrshire will welcome four of Scotland’s leading children’s authors who will be offering interactive sessions and readings from a selection of their books at a free family event.

The Turnberry Children’s Book Event, organised in partnership with The Herald and Sunday Herald and with the support of Scottish Book Trust, will feature a prolific group of Scottish-based writers including Ross Collins, whose current title Dear Vampa has just won the top prize at the Scottish Children’s Book Awards in the 0-7 years category. Ross has illustrated over 70 books to date and has now written eight.

Also appearing at the event will be Chae Strathie, Alison Murray and Joan Lennon. Like Collins, Chae Strathie also writes for the 0-8 years age group. His first two works – My Dad and The Tickle Tree – were picture books and his current title, The Loon on the Moon, was shortlisted in the 2011 Scottish Children’s Book Awards.

Alison Murray, who writes for the 0-4 age group, had her first book Apple Pie ABC published in the UK in 2010. It was listed for both a Scottish Children’s Book Award and UK Literary Association Award. Her follow-up title, One Two That’s My Shoe, was published a year later.

Joan Lennon writes for a variety of age groups. Her books include The Wickit Chronicles series and The Slightly Jones Mysteries, the latest of which – The Case of the Cambridge Mummy – was released on 1 March 2012. Another from this series, Slightly Jones and the Case of the London Dragonfish was shortlisted in the 2011 Scottish Children’s Book Awards.

The event will also feature four Bookbug sessions, run by Scottish Book Trust, for children aged 0-4 years old, held throughout the day. The sessions are free, fun and friendly events for babies, toddlers and pre-schoolers, designed to build their confidence and social skills in a relaxed setting.

Visits to the Resort’s Little Turnberry Farm will also be available throughout the day, where children will be able to enjoy seeing a variety of different animals including sheep, lambs, miniature donkeys and the latest addition to the farm, two young alpacas.

The event is free to parents and their children, aged 0 to 10 years old, on a first come first served basis. All attendees must register in advance. More details for this can be found CLICK HERE

Turnberry Resort General Manager Jordi Tarrida (pictured above) said: “Scotland is fortunate to have so many talented children’s authors, and we are delighted to have access to four leading names for this year’s Turnberry Children’s Book Event.”

Anna Gibbons, Scottish Book Trust’s Early Years Programme Manager, said: “Sharing books together is one of the key building blocks in the early years which helps children to lead fulfilling and productive lives, and Scottish Book Trust welcomes Turnberry’s commitment to spreading this message to parents.”

For more information on the Turnberry Children’s Book Event, visit:

You can also email or call 01655 334 175.

The Turnberry Luxury Collection Resort is a Founder Member of the Elite Ayrshire Business Circle.

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Town team will lead the way to deliver 25-year Girvan vision and masterplan

A new ‘Town Team’ partnership between local communities in Girvan and South Carrick and the public, private and voluntary sectors is to be established to ensure ongoing active community participation in the regeneration of the local area.

The ‘Town Team’ – which will hold its first meeting at the end of the month – is just one of the outcomes from the hugely successful Girvan charrette, which was led by John Thomson & Partners (JTP) on behalf of the Scottish Government and South Ayrshire Council.

[Pictured: Councillor Bill McIntosh welcomes guests to the final charrette session.]

The charrette concluded last night (Tuesday 6 March) with the unveiling of a 25-year vision and indicative masterplan for the future of Girvan, which received a very warm welcome from the standing-room only audience.

[Planning Minister Derek Mackay and Councillor Bill McIntosh (centre with the masterplan) are joined by local Councillors Ian Fitzsimons, John McDowall, Alec Oattes; Girvan Community Council Chair Alec Clark; SCCL Chair Andrew Sinclair; Maybole, North Carrick & Coylton Councillor Mairi Low and the charrette team to reveal the indicative masterplan for Girvan.]

The vision and masterplan set out a positive and vibrant picture for the town and its residents and are designed to address the issues raised by the 250 people who participated in the charrette process over the weekend. The issues highlighted included:

* Civic pride – capturing the passion and drive to build a bright future for Girvan.
* Image and identity – building on the town’s identity to market it as a destination of choice for residents, businesses and tourists alike.
* Town centre – improving the attractiveness of shopping areas and public space.
* Harbour village – developing the full potential of the harbour to provide a wider range of amenities and facilities.
* Local economy – encouraging more inward investment and employment opportunities.
* Young people – ensuring the right sports, recreational and cultural facilities are available.

In response, the indicative masterplan – which will be further discussed, refined and developed through the Town Team – shows just what the future could look like for Girvan.

[Pictured: Planning Minister Derek Mackay commends the charrette work.]

The masterplan includes improvement options for a vibrant and bustling harbour area developed around the multi-faceted facility – previously approved by South Ayrshire Council – with links to the business and retail part of town.

Specific proposed improvements in the masterplan include:

* a toddler’s beach at the boating lake;
* a dedicated market place and visitor information centre;
* a holiday village and hotel;
* outdoor performance space;
* a ‘Water of Girvan’ boardwalk;
* reinstatement of a tree-lined avenue on Henrietta Street;
* Stumpy Corner enhancements to provide a public square, cafe, outdoor terrace and climbing wall;
* new residential developments;
* arts and crafts workshops and galleries;
* new lighting, paving and shopfront improvements on Dalrymple Street; and
* further development of the Girvan community garden project.

Scottish Government Planning Minister Derek Mackay said: “The Girvan charrette was the third in the current programme sponsored by the Scottish Government. It has been a tremendously exciting opportunity for everyone who cares about Girvan to join in creating a vision for the future of the town, and a great chance for everyone in Girvan to work together by talking about their priorities and the challenges facing the town – and how they can be addressed.”

Councillor Bill McIntosh, Leader of South Ayrshire Council, continued: “I am thoroughly impressed with the masterplan and again want to thank all those who took the time to participate and help create this vision.

“I am delighted we will be taking forward the Town Team model – which has proved so successful in Scarborough – to progress the masterplan and ensure the right people from the right organisations are all seated at the table at the right time.

“The masterplan perfectly captures the potential of Girvan and the surrounding areas and gives the Town Team plenty to work with moving forward. I am in absolutely no doubt there is a very bright future ahead for Girvan and South Carrick and that bright future starts right now.”

Local Councillors Ian Fitzsimons, John McDowall and Alec Oattes also gave the vision and masterplan a warm welcome.

Councillor Fitzsimons said: “I am delighted with the response from the public and the level of attendance and participation throughout the charrette process. It’s really been a great success and is the start of a wonderful journey for Girvan and South Carrick. It will be great when the improvements in the masterplan are all in place, providing a positive and sustainable future for this area.”

Councillor McDowall added: “I’m delighted with the huge participation from the local community, which has far exceeded all expectations. The community has got really involved and shown how much they are committed to the future of Girvan and South Carrick. The task now is to turn the masterplan into a reality and I look forward to seeing that happen.”

Councillor Oattes concluded: “I thoroughly enjoyed the final presentation by the charrette team, which points the way ahead for Girvan and South Carrick. Obviously we have to be realistic as this is a long-term vision and masterplan; however what has been set out here will make a wonderful difference.”

Andrew Sinclair, Chair of South Carrick Community Leisure (SCCL), added: "The people of Girvan and South Carrick know how much potential this area has and it’s really exciting to see how our ideas and visions for that potential have taken shape within the masterplan. It truly is our vision for our town.

“I’m particularly pleased that the next steps will be taken forward through the Town Team with active participation and involvement from the local community, giving us real ownership of our future. That’s exactly what we want.”

Alec Clark, Chair of Girvan Community Council, said: “It’s wonderful to see the people of our town come up with our vision, which provides a clear route map for the future. The improvements set out won’t just make a difference to the current residents – they will provide a legacy for the future and firmly put Girvan and South Carrick on the map.”

Charles Campion from JTP concluded: "I was delighted to see such a positive reaction to the vision and masterplan and hope the community can see how we’ve used their comments, ideas, suggestions and feedback to come up with their vision for Girvan.

“I’ll certainly be following the town’s progress in the months and years ahead and look forward to seeing the transformation the town and its citizens deserve.”

The first meeting of the Town Team will take place in Girvan community centre at 7pm on Thursday 29 March. Everyone is welcome to come along and all those who attended the Girvan charrette events will be invited to take part.

Further information can be found at

Scotland’s space industry set for lift-off

Leading figures from the UK and Europe’s Space sector descended on Glasgow this week for the second Scottish Space Symposium, to explore the benefits that Space technology can provide as the multi-billion pound industry continues to grow.

The symposium, organised by the University of Strathclyde and supported by Scottish Enterprise, focussed on the downstream sector of the industry that uses space-derived services such as satellite telecommunications, earth observation and navigation.

Worldwide, the space sector is expected to grow to £400 billion by 2030, The UK’s share of that sector could create as many as 100,000 high-value jobs. Scotland is well placed to play a significant role, and the event highlighted the many opportunities for businesses across the country.

Dr Derek Bennet of the University of Strathclyde’s Advanced Space Concepts Laboratory, said: “Information provided from Space will be a significant growth area over the next decade and beyond, not only for companies developing platforms and systems to deliver it, but for companies able to the use the data to develop new products and services.

“It is estimated that the downstream element of the sector is worth ten times more than upstream, with satellite data increasingly being used in a range of industries including transport, agriculture and renewable energy.

“At Strathclyde we are actively engaged with industry partners to develop Scotland’s capabilities, and the symposium provided an ideal platform to ensure that partnership approach continues.”

Senior figures from the UK Space Agency, European Space Agency and the Technology Strategy Board joined leading downstream space companies at the Hilton Hotel in Glasgow for the event.

Attendees also had the opportunity to hear first hand about the Technology Strategy Board-funded Satellite Applications Catapult Centre. The new centre, expected to open in Autumn 2012, will provide in-orbit test facilities, allowing innovative UK organisations to demonstrate new satellite technologies. It will also remove significant cost barriers, and expedite the development of new products and services delivered by satellites.

Ross White, Scottish Enterprise added “Scotland’s Space industry is a dynamic and growing sector, spearheaded by companies with cutting edge specialisms, supported by a national technology centre and underpinned by world-leading research groups. Scottish Enterprise was delighted to support the second Scottish Space Symposium, which brought these key Scottish groups together with UK and International partners to explore opportunities for growth.”

• The Advanced Space Concepts Laboratory, at the University of Strathclyde, delivers world-leading research on advanced space concepts, delivering radically new approaches to future space systems for space-derived products and services.

• Scottish Enterprise is Scotland’s main enterprise, innovation and investment agency. Working in partnership with industry, academia and the public sector, SE aims to help make Scotland a place where business can thrive and key industries can be competitive. Its focus is to help businesses grow, encourage greater innovation and create the right conditions for companies to access property, markets and finance to increase productivity.

• The Technology Strategy Board is the UK’s innovation agency; its goal is to accelerate economic growth by stimulating and supporting business-led innovation. Sponsored by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS), the Technology Strategy Board brings together business, research and the public sector, supporting and accelerating the development of innovative products and services to meet market needs, tackle major societal challenges and help build the future economy. For more information please visit

• Catapults are centres of excellence that bridge the gap between business, academia, research and government. They are a powerful new element in the UK economy, helping businesses develop relevant and exciting ideas in receptive and invigorating environments.

• The Technology Strategy Board will oversee the Catapult centres. So far high value manufacturing is the first to open, and centres for cell therapy, offshore renewable energy, satellite applications and connect digital economy have also been announced.

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Cabinet Secretary Alex Neil hails Stevenston business centre success

A new business centre that was built as a key part of plans to regenerate Stevenston has been hailed a success by the Scottish Government.

The Grange, the new business and commercial centre in the heart of the town, developed by Irvine Bay Regeneration Company, has been officially opened by Alex Neil MSP, the Scottish Government’s Cabinet Secretary for Infrastructure and Capital Investment today Tuesday 6 March.

Already the new business centre, built on the site of the former Grange cinema after which it is named, has seen 12 new jobs created with the opening of a Scotmid store on the ground floor.

Now, Sterling Efforts Administrative Services Ltd, who offer a holistic financial support service, have become the first tenants of the office space in the business centre. Nikki Niven, managing director of Sterling Efforts, said: “We are delighted to play our part in revitalising business in the area.

“We will be using our new office to expand our operations in the debt support sector to assist those households suffering from financial difficulties or who wish to reduce their monthly outgoings. We are currently working with North Ayrshire Council to immediately bring 2 new administrative jobs to Stevenson with a further post to follow before the end of 2012.”

Interest in the business centre continues to be strong, with more new jobs expected to follow when more businesses take up the top-quality, highly specified office space and workshops.

Alex Neil said: “The new business centre will bring a focus back to the town centre and will help attract businesses and new jobs to the town. It is entirely fitting that the site, which has always played a pivotal role in the life of the town, has been regenerated for the benefit of generations to come.”

The Grange provides flexible business, retail and workshop space in small unit sizes. The accommodation totals some 1,000 sq m.

Patrick Wiggins, chief executive of Irvine Bay Regeneration Company, said: “The development responds to the need for good quality business accommodation to stimulate the local economy, encourage new businesses to start and to attract business relocation into the area. I am confident it will play a big role in helping to bring businesses to Stevenston, creating jobs in the process, as well as ensuring local businesses can grow and stay in the town.”

“It will provide a boost to the town, and it is suitable that a building on this site continues to play a vital role for Stevenston. The Grange cinema was once a big part of the town’s life, and now we hope this building will help bring new life to the town.”

Councillor John Reid, Portfolio Holder, Regeneration, said: “Here in North Ayrshire a key part of our economic strategy is to attract and retain more high value businesses through modern business facilities. We recognise that job creation, one of our main challenges, starts with a healthy and outward looking business base.”

“This new business centre developed by Irvine Bay Regeneration Company, in the heart of Stevenston, provides top quality flexible accommodation for businesses. We have hit the ground running with construction work completed six weeks ahead of schedule, followed by the fit-out of the ground floor, where Scotmid have already located their new store and created 12 jobs. It’s an excellent start, so let’s keep up the good work.”

All-inclusive rent is available from £380 plus vat per calendar month, with flexible lease periods of a year and longer. First floor offices range from 26 sq m, with commercial space/workshops on the ground floor starting at 76 sq m and going up to 178 sq m. Retail space of 220 sq m is now occupied by Scotmid.

The offices are served by a common entrance lobby, and benefit from nearby public transport links and car parking.

Demolition work on the previous building on the site was completed in December 2009. A planning application was submitted in March 2010. The main contractor for the project, Maxi Construction Ltd, was appointed in early October 2010 and the build started in late November 2010.

Monday, 5 March 2012

Ayr Racecourse to stage two-day March race meeting

By: Iain Ferguson

Ayr Racecourse stages a two-day March meeting featuring La Barrique Fine Wines Raceday on Friday 9 March followed by Irish Raceday on Saturday 10 March.

There are seven races each afternoon, and Friday’s racing highlights include the Coca-Cola Handicap Chase at 5.05pm and the Guinness Beginners Chase both run over three miles one furlong. The final race on Friday afternoon is the Strathmore Handicap Chase due off at 5.40pm.

Ayr’s first Saturday meeting of the year should attract big fields with around £50,000 of prize money on offer. The feature races are a two mile Handicap chase at 3.50pm and a two mile four furlong Handicap chase for the Hugh Barclay Challenge Trophy at 4.55pm.

First race on both days is at 2.10pm with gates open at 12.10pm. Live bands will play in the Horseshoe Bar for three hours after racing on both evenings - Sistrum on Friday and Reload on Saturday.

Ayr Racecourse sales and marketing director Lindsey Smith said: “This is always a good meeting, coming just a few days before the Cheltenham Festival, and we normally attract many Irish racegoers.

“The prize money on offer is good, and we are looking forward to some good weekend action at what is our last meeting before the Coral Scottish Grand National Festival in April.”

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