The Elite Ayrshire Business Circle

Friday, 12 October 2012

South Ayrshire Council’s £9 million masterplan for Lochside gets green light

58 stunning, new and affordable homes for Council tenants in South Ayrshire are a step closer to reality, following the approval of a £9 million masterplan for Lochside in Ayr.
 
The masterplan paves the way for the demolition of nine maisonette blocks at Ferguson and Sloan Street, along with the lock-ups at Cowan Crescent and will also see the creation of vibrant open spaces and modern leisure facilities in the area.
 
 
Work on the exciting development could begin in less than 12 months time and the positive news reinforces the Council’s commitment to invest in the area, having already modernised three maisonette blocks between 2008 and 2011.
 
Funding from the Scottish Government has offered further possibilities and, rather than refurbish the remaining maisonettes, a new vision for this area of Lochside can now be realised.
 
The masterplan sets out how the impressive transformation will look (see artist's impression above), with a total government subsidy of £1.74 million and Council investment of over £7.2 million.
 
Leader of South Ayrshire Council, Councillor Bill McIntosh commented: “I’m delighted we can now move forward with this much anticipated and very exciting project. It’s a good news story and a superb outcome for Lochside.
 
“More importantly, it is affordable within the Council’s current business plan.”
 
Work on developing leisure facilities has already begun at the football pitches on James Brown Avenue and the Council anticipates that development work will start on the site in late 2013 – meaning that the first tenants could get the keys to their fantastic new, high-quality homes as early as spring 2015.
 
Councillor Philip Saxton, Portfolio Holder for Housing concluded: “We’ve delivered on a commitment to the people of Lochside and, in particular the tenants at the maisonette blocks there and they will soon move into the modern, high-quality and affordable homes they deserve.
 
“The Council’s decision is a positive result for them and for the whole Lochside community.
 
“I’d like to thank them for their patience as this ambitious vision moves from being a plan on paper, to an amazing dream come true for local residents.”
 
The costs associated with the development are £116,052 per unit, subsidised by £30,000 per unit by the Scottish Government.

Homes will be built on the land of the former greyhound stadium, Ferguson and Sloan Street.

In addition to the unit costs, the Council has budgeted for an element of additional cost, required for the provision of a new road access.

Other anticipated costs include providing home loss and disturbance payments, security and acquiring property from 12 private owners of flats within the nine maisonette blocks.
 
South Ayrshire Council is a Founder Member of the Elite Ayrshire Business Circle.
 



High Resolution a muddy marvel at Ayr Racecourse

By: Iain Ferguson
 
THE 2012 flat season at Ayr Racecourse ended last Thursday with the eight-race Giles Insurance Raceday surviving a deluge of rain.
 
And Linda Perratt continued her tremendous form of late when saddling High Resolution (17/2) to land the Beazley Marine Insurance Handicap under a fine ride from Garry Whillans.
 
 
[Pictured: High Resolution and jockey Garry Whillans.]

 
So heavy were the conditions that High Resolution’s big white blaze was totally obliterated by mud, but owner Helen Perratt, Linda’s mother, couldn’t hide her delight in the Winner’s Enclosure after the race.
 
It’s A Man’s World (5/1) is a horse who loves bottomless going, and came home five lengths clear for trainer Brian Ellison and jockey Paul Pickard in the Giles Insurance Corporate Handicap.
 
The same trainer had earlier landed the feature race of the day, the InTechnology Services Handicap with Amaze (9/2) ridden by Barry McHugh.
 
Other notable winners on the day included Mister Marcasite (11/4) for trainer Mel Brittain and jockey David Allan in the Giles Insurance/E.B.F. Maiden Stakes, and 18/1 chance Bond Fastrac for Geoff Oldroyd and Tony Hamilton in the Giles Insurance Handicap (Division 11).
 
The next meeting at Ayr Racecourse is the John Smith’s Race Day on Saturday 3 November,  with the first race due off at 1.05 pm.
 
For more information go online at http://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, 11 October 2012

Tourism businesses urged to capitalise on Scotland's £1.5 billion events and festivals market

Scottish tourism businesses are being challenged to look at ways of tapping into Scotland’s world-class events and festivals programme in the run up to 2014, when the country will host The Ryder Cup, Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games and a year-long Homecoming Scotland celebration.
 
Companies are being urged to take advantage of this business opportunity in a new Events, Festivals & Cultural Tourism in Scotland guide published by Tourism Intelligence Scotland (TIS), as part of its Opportunities for Growth series. The guide is available to businesses that register at www.tourism-intelligence.co.uk
 
 
Tourism Minister Fergus Ewing said: “I very much welcome this guide, which will enable tourism businesses all over the country to benefit from the many exciting events which are taking place over the next two years, and will attract so many visitors to this country.
 
“Scotland’s vibrant tourism industry makes a substantial contribution to our economy, and the Scottish Government and our enterprise and tourism agencies are determined to help businesses seize the enormous economic opportunities in the run up to 2014.
 
“In addition to our established events and festivals, the release and European premiere of Disney-Pixar’s Brave this summer has captured the imagination of many people globally, the Year of Creative Scotland 2012, Year of Natural Scotland 2013 and the Ryder Cup, Commonwealth Games and second year of Homecoming in 2014 will further raise Scotland’s profile.”
 
 
 
[Pictured: Tourism Minister Fergus Ewing.]
 
Scotland’s events programme already offers a significant contribution to the country’s economy, generating almost £1.5 billion in gross turnover per annum, with Mintel research describing events as ‘affordable escapism’, meaning that visitors put these experiences above other spending options. Indeed, UK visitor spend on music concerts and festivals alone has grown significantly, by 69%, in the last five years.
 
The new guide provides tourism operators with the latest intelligence on Scotland’s events and cultural tourism markets, along with a raft of practical hints, tips and ideas to help them make the most of the year-round opportunities for their business.
 
Ideas include giving visitors information on transfer options to and from event venues, providing themed offers for those attending specialist events and festivals, offering a range of relaxation options for event participants during off times, and providing visitors with details about authentic Scottish eating options.
 
The Events, Festivals & Cultural Tourism in Scotland guide has been published by Tourism Intelligence Scotland, as part of its Opportunities for Growth series, aimed at helping businesses make the most of new and emerging opportunities in the sector.
 
Katrina Morrison, Tourism Strategic Priorities Manager at Scottish Enterprise said: “Now is the perfect time for tourism businesses to get involved with cultural events and experiences. ‘The Winning Years’, which are supported by a range of activity at national level, offer tourism operators a unique opportunity to grow their business and to collaborate to develop exciting new products and services. By working more closely with event organisers and cultural providers they can offer a memorable experience for visitors, and ultimately improve their bottom line.”
 
Audrey MacLennan, Senior Tourism Manager at Highlands and Islands Enterprise said: “Events, festivals and cultural tourism are a thriving part of the Highlands and Islands and are bringing real economic benefits to the communities involved. Businesses working together to create a number of complementary events and experiences can offer even more to the visitor and can tempt them to stay longer, return year after year and can boost out of season bookings. We hope that the success stories showcasing activity across Scotland featured in the guide offer advice to others looking for ideas and inspiration.”
 
David Taylor, Portfolio Manager Special Events at Creative Scotland highlighted developments during the Year of Creative Scotland commented: “Through the Year of Creative Scotland a range of new sustainable partnerships have been developed across the country, from imaginative eco-friendly projects like the ‘RockNess Express’, and high profile collaborations including the Enchanted Forest working with visual artists Dalziell & Scullion, to the enhancement of existing tourist routes such as ‘Arts and Crafts in the Clyde Valley’; and visitor-friendly packages by events and festivals including the Lammermuir Festival, and Perthshire Amber. It’s this type of joint working that will ensure Scotland builds on its reputation as a cultural destination for national and international visitors alike.”
 
VisitScotland chairman, Mike Cantlay, said: “Scotland is preparing for the best opportunity for tourism in decades - with two world-famous events and a call for everyone to come home in 2014. No matter where businesses are in Scotland, there will be things happening near them all year round. And whether they are world-class ventures or local events, a significant proportion of the visitor spend ends up in the pockets of tourism businesses.
 
“All of these events and festivals present an opportunity to raise the profile of Scotland and extend our world famous welcome. It’s up to tourism businesses to make the most of what’s on locally and work together to use this to encourage more visitors to the area and give them good reason to stay longer and to come back for more. This guide will show tourism operators how to do just that and grow their business at the same time. As Scotland gets ready to welcome the world, this is not a time for modesty - it’s time to show the world what we are made of!”
 
Tourism Intelligence Scotland is a joint venture developed by Scottish Enterprise, Highlands & Islands Enterprise and VisitScotland, in partnership with the tourism industry, to stimulate growth and innovation in tourism. The development of this guide was also supported by EventScotland and Creative Scotland.
 
Other guides in the Opportunities for Growth series include: Scottish Tourism in the Future; Walking Tourism; Listening to our Visitors; Golf Tourism; Adventure Travel; Food Experience in Scotland; Mountain Biking Tourism; Sailing Tourism; Knowing our Markets....Scotland’s Visitors 2012; and Wildlife Tourism in Scotland.
 
Scottish Enterprise is Scotland’s main economic development agency and aims to deliver a significant, lasting effect on the Scottish economy. Its role is to help identify and exploit the best opportunities for economic growth. It supports ambitious Scottish companies to compete within the global marketplace and help build Scotland’s globally competitive sectors. It also works with a range of partners in the public and private sectors to attract new investment to Scotland and to help create a world-class business environment.
 
 



Wednesday, 10 October 2012

New offshore wind test centre launched in Hunterston, North Ayrshire

Scottish Enterprise is investing up to £4.3 million to create an offshore wind turbine test centre, capable of hosting three full-scale wind turbines designed for offshore deployment.
 
The test centre will be located at the port of Hunterston on the coast of North Ayrshire, a site already earmarked for potential renewables supply chain development in the National Renewables Infrastructure Plan.
 
 
Scottish Enterprise is using funds from the National Renewables Infrastructure Fund in a joint venture with Scottish and Southern Energy (SSE).
 
SSE will work with its supply chain partners Siemens and Mitsubishi Power Systems Europe to test their latest turbine technology on two of the berths.
 
The third berth will be operated by Scottish Enterprise and will be leased to a turbine manufacturer which has firm plans to invest in the Scottish offshore wind supply chain.
 
 
The new funding was announced by First Minister Alex Salmond at the Scottish Low Carbon Investment Conference today.

First Minister Alex Salmond said: “As the global wind industry looks further offshore, towards the deeper waters of the world’s seas and oceans, Scotland is ideally-placed to become a key hub for the design, development and deployment of next-generation turbine technologies.
 
“We must continue to provide the optimum technical, investment and natural environment for this important industry so I’m delighted that, through Scottish Enterprise, we are able to work with one of Scotland’s great innovating companies on this key offshore wind project.”
 
Hunterston’s wind resource, which replicates offshore conditions, coupled with its existing grid connection - make it an ideal site for the testing facility which has a key role in developing Scotland’s offshore wind supply chain.
 
The advantage of testing turbines on land is that it permits the manufacturer 24-hour access to make modifications and repairs, which is critical particularly for early series prototype turbines.
 
Scottish Enterprise has worked closely with SSE Renewables to develop the project, and the funding will contribute towards the infrastructure needed to develop three turbines at the site over the next five years.
 



Tuesday, 9 October 2012

South Ayrshire Council leading the way towards 2012 homelessness commitment

South Ayrshire Council is one of 18 local authorities in Scotland to meet the historic 2012 homelessness commitment – with three months still to go until the new legislation comes in to force.
 
The Council has already met the historic commitment ahead of time by abolishing priority need assessments, in effect giving every unintentionally homeless person in South Ayrshire the legal right to a home.
 
 
[Pictured: Heather Anderson, Housing Policy and Strategy Co-ordinator, South Ayrshire Council; Graeme Brown, Director Shelter Scotland; David Sloan; John Keirs; Kenny Leinster, Head of Community Care and Housing, South Ayrshire Council; and Councillor Philip Saxton, Portfolio Holder for Housing.]
 
The changes have seen an end to the current system where only those people deemed to be in ‘priority need’ previously had the right to a home. The Act passed in 2003 effectively extends the right to a home to single homeless people and couples without children.  For the last nine years Scotland’s 32 local authorities have been preparing for the changes.
 
Graeme Brown, Director of Shelter Scotland congratulated South Ayrshire Council on its commitment in preparing for the historic reforms. He said: “The 2012 commitment is internationally regarded as the cutting edge of progressive homelessness reform and South Ayrshire Council can be very proud that it is leading the way in making history.
 
“I congratulate the council on its continued focus on meeting its responsibilities to homeless people and in its early preparedness for the reforms. In already having effective policies and practices in place, the council has ensured itself a smooth transition, meaning key resources such as temporary accommodations won’t experience a sudden increase in demand.
 
“This achievement marks a new beginning for the Council and the way it treats homeless people. It is a huge step towards eradicating homelessness not only in South Ayrshire, but Scotland as a whole.”
 
Councillor Philip Saxton, South Ayrshire Council’s Portfolio Holder for Housing said: “We take homelessness seriously, recognising that it can happen to anyone and often not for reasons of their own choosing. All homeless applications to the Council are now assessed as a priority.
 
“We’re delighted Shelter Scotland recognises and has endorsed our efforts to successfully meet – and comfortably exceed – the Scottish Government’s requirement to abolish priority need assessments for homeless people.
 
“The Council also offers a range of effective support measures, aimed at quickly finding safe, secure and appropriate accommodation.
 
“This can include access or referral to other services or agencies, to make sure every homeless person, in need of accommodation, receives the right level of support and guidance they need, to reduce their chance of becoming homeless again.”
 
Local men David Sloan and John Keirs both agreed having come through the service to find accommodation after both had been homeless.
 
John added: “Homelessness can affect anyone and the Council did all they could to support me when I was faced with this possibility. Thankfully for me I got a lot of help from the team and it did not happen.
 
“I can’t fault the service I received and am really glad I went there to seek help.”
 
In David’s case, the process from presenting as a homeless person to finding accommodation took just under two weeks, giving him a fresh start.
 
He commented: “I never thought I’d find myself homeless, but it happened. The Council were brilliant and got me back and on my feet again. I’ve now got a good handle on the future and life looks good once more.”
 
South Ayrshire Council is a Founder Member of the Elite Ayrshire Business Circle.
 



South Ayrshire Council Leader Bill McIntosh disappointed at award nomination

The Leader of South Ayrshire Council has said he is disappointed Ayr town centre is one of the first few locations to be nominated for the ‘Plook on the Plinth’ category in the Carbuncle Awards.
 
The awards were created by Urban Realm magazine to provoke debate about the quality of development in Scotland’s towns and cities and the ‘Plook on the Plinth’ is awarded to the nominated location identified by judges as the most dismal town in Scotland.
 
 
Councillor Bill McIntosh (pictured above), Leader of South Ayrshire Council, said: “I’m both surprised and disappointed to learn that Ayr has been nominated for this award. While we fully recognise that there are improvements to be made within our town centre, I believe it’s a considerable stretch to put it forward as one of the most dismal towns in the country.
 
“Ayr is a fantastic and historical town that offers beautiful award-winning beaches, lovely landmarks and stunning open spaces. It’s home to some of the biggest names on the High Street as well as a thriving and vibrant independent retail sector and benefits from fantastic road and rail links, making it an easily accessible visitor destination.
 
“The town is also undergoing a transformation thanks to our Ayr Renaissance programme, which is all about revitalising Ayr town centre, and we have been working to ensure the town centre continues as a growing retail and employment location. We’ve undertaken a number of successful initiatives including the refurbishment of vacant retail units, which we have successfully re-let, and the introduction of a civic pride campaign to keep the town centre looking it’s best.
 
 
“We’re seeing positive progress in other areas such as a boost to arts and culture with the reopening of the Gaiety Theatre (pictured above) before the end of the year and the final planning stages for the work to transform the historic ‘pink buildings’ (pictured below) at the gateway into the town nearing completion.
 
 
“We’re also developing a number of programmes that will continue to revitalise the heart of what we see as a welcoming and friendly town centre and working in partnership to deliver significant investment from the private sector, such as the planned new canopy for Ayr Central shopping centre.
 
“Alongside this, I’m in the process of finalising the details for a Town Centres Summit, which I will be hosting later in the year as a platform to bring all the relevant parties together to consider how we can develop our town centres across South Ayrshire in this current economic climate as this is a key priority for our Council.
 
“This nomination undermines the positive work being taken forward in Ayr town centre, not just by the Council, but by private sector landlords, local retailers and residents in Ayr, who are equally committed to enhancing Ayr town centre to be the best it can be.
 
“We can only hope the judges of the Carbuncle Awards recognise the many positives our town centre has to offer and the ongoing work to make it even better.”
 
South Ayrshire Council is a Founder Member of the Elite Ayrshire Business Circle.
 



Monday, 8 October 2012

South Ayrshire Council launches free Troon Community Sport Hub

More than 500 people of all ages from across the Troon area took part in the launch of the Troon Community Sport Hub at Marr College School Campus.
 
 
[Pictured: Representatives from various sports clubs, Councillors, Strathclyde Police were on their marks and getting set for a busy day at Troon Community Sports Hub launch.]

Councillor Margaret Toner, Lifelong Learning Portfolio Holder for South Ayrshire Council (pictured below) said: “It was great to see so many people at Marr College so enthusiastic about sport. Many people told me that they had been inspired by the great wave of sport that has swept the nation this summer.

 
“I hope that lots of people will have decided to get up and active again, or take up a new sport, thanks to the enthusiasm and expertise of the sports clubs members who provide information and free taster sessions.
 
“This event gave people the opportunity to find out more about the Troon Community Sport Hub, which was established to encourage the community to support sport, and to find out about the wide range of sports and activities on offer locally.
 
“In addition, some people who love sport stepped forward and volunteered to help clubs in different ways, offering much needed support to members of their local sporting community.”
 
A number of clubs at the event demonstrated various games and activities and there was the opportunity for people to try out many sports. The Community Sport Hub Market Place, which was packed with information proved very popular.
 
This is what some of the people who took part in the event had to say:
 
Scott Telford, Dundonald Gymnastics Club said: “Very good initiative showing how clubs can work together in the area of Troon.”
 
David Gee, wheelchair tennis coach said: “Great idea, getting people as active as  possible.”
 
John Dunlop, Scottish Squash and Racketball said: “This event really raises the awareness of sport to get everyone involved.”
 
PC Derek Simpson, Marr campus officer said: “This is a brilliant initiative, partnership working, keeping young people healthy.”
 
Russell MacDonald, Troon Tennis Club said: “This is a great idea, bringing the clubs together which can lead to better facilities for clubs.”
 
Frank Maguire, Ayr Archery Club said: “This has been fantastic, getting everybody involved in sport, the launch has showcased multiple sports in the area including disability sports which is great.”
 
Stevie Neilson, Troon Handball Club said: “This has been a great opportunity for handball as it’s not a popular sport, also shows how sport can be at the centre of the community in Troon.”
 
South Ayrshire Council is committed to supporting the development of Community Sports Hubs throughout the area.  Community sport hubs are based in local places such as club pavilions, sports centres, community centres, the natural environment and/or schools. They aim to bring local people together and encourage local clubs and sports organisations.  They also provide information, support and advice on a wide range of sports and physical activities to make it easier for local people to get involved and engage in a more active and healthier lifestyle.
 
Jacqueline Lynn, Head of School and Community Sport for sportscotland said: “It’s fantastic to have had such a successful launch of the latest official community sport hub here in Troon. The hubs are a key part of sportscotland’s contribution towards the 2014 legacy plans, and Troon is a shining example of the impact and importance of sport and sports clubs for local communities. We are all looking forward to watching and supporting the success of Troon community sport hub in the future.”
 
For further information about Troon Sport Hub contact Ali Mutch, Community Sport Hub Officer on 07967038113 or e-mail Alistair.Mutch@south-ayshire.gov.uk 
 
South Ayrshire Council is a Founder Member of the Elite Ayrshire Business Circle.