Wednesday, 15 October 2014
Glaisnock House set to become a hub for business and cultural links between Scotland and China
A Victorian mansion in Ayrshire is poised to assume an exciting new role in the 21st century.
Glaisnock House near Cumnock has been sold to new Chinese owners who plan to convert the impressive building into a centre to encourage further development of business and cultural relations between Scotland and China.
[Pictured: celebrating the new Chinese investment In Ayrshire - Elite Ayrshire Business Circle executive chairman and Frazer Coogans Commercial Solicitors managing partner Norman Geddes; Sino-Scottish expert and Ayrshire entrepreneur Meiqin McColm; East Ayrshire Council Leader Douglas Reid; East Ayrshire Council Chief Executive Fiona Lees; Chic Brodie MSP for South of Scotland.]
The Cumnock landmark will see visitors from China learning English and being tutored in European culture. British students and business people will also learn Chinese language and culture. The scheme will see the building become a one-stop shop for businesses looking to enter the ever-expanding Chinese market. It is an exciting new chapter for Glaisnock House, which has lain empty for several years.
The project is fronted by Li Peng, an entrepreneur from Dandong in north-east China and Operations Director of UPIC, an investment consortium which involves retail, tourism and education. The company provides students to three Scottish universities and three in England but plans to increase this to 30 overall with the Cumnock site as an administration centre.
Mr Li Peng said: “I am delighted to be involved with Scotland on this ambitious development which I am sure will further strengthen Chinese and Scottish cultural and business ties.”
It is believed the first phase of the project will see Chinese music students arrive in Ayrshire next summer.
In future there are plans for teacher and student exchanges, including schools, as well as increased business development opportunities.
East Ayrshire Council’s Economic Development and Planning teams played an important role in helping bring this development to Cumnock.
East Ayrshire Council Chief Executive Fiona Lees said: “This is great news for East Ayrshire, and I welcomed the opportunity to meet with Mr Peng on his recent visit, and hear of his plans for Glaisnock House.
“The Council stands ready to support the development in whatever way we can. The regeneration of Glaisnock House as an educational and cultural centre will be a great asset both locally and nationally, and we look forward to welcoming students and entrepreneurs from China to East Ayrshire.”
Chic Brodie MSP for South of Scotland based in Ayr said: “I am delighted to have been associated with this very exciting new development in the furtherance of Scotland’s relationship with China.
“It is a great honour to have been associated with those who have been instrumental in processing this development so quickly.
“Pivotal were local Sino-Scottish expert and Ayrshire entrepreneur Meiqin McColm with her strong communication links with China, and the legal expertise of Norman Geddes of Frazer Coogans Commercial Solicitors, who enabled all of the statutory hurdles to be cleared so quickly.
“I also commend Fiona Lees, Chief Executive of East Ayrshire Council and her Economic Development and Planning teams who stand ready to bring such opportunities to fruition. They are a clear example of a ‘Council in Action’ ready to seek meaningful business and employment opportunities.”
As well as being Managing Partner of Frazer Coogans Commercial Solicitors, Norman Geddes is Executive Chairman of the Elite Ayrshire Business Circle, an association founded in 2007 by many of the top companies in Ayrshire.
He commented: “Ever since the inception of the Elite Ayrshire Business Circle, we have been pleased to have been associated with the further development of business and cultural relations between Ayrshire and China. We greatly welcome the Glaisnock House project as evidence of the steady progress that we are all making along this exciting journey.”