The Elite Ayrshire Business Circle

The Elite Ayrshire Business Circle

Wednesday, 12 March 2014

Growth in housebuyer numbers slips as market demand dies down in Scotland

RICS UK Residential Market Survey, February 2014

The continuing increase in would-be buyers in Scotland eased off to the lowest point in almost a year during February, as the initial demand from those previously shut out of the property market started to relent, says the RICS February Residential Market Survey.

Last month, buyer numbers increased at their slowest rate since April 2013, with a net balance of 24 percent of chartered surveyors reporting a growth in new buyer enquiries. It seems that the initial surge in demand, driven by the more accessible housing market, has started to slowly level off. Once more, the amount of homes coming up for sale failed to substantially pick up, and, although buyer demand is gradually starting to slacken, supply is still falling well short of required levels. 

Sarah Speirs, Director RICS Scotland commented: “The growth in buyer numbers that we’ve seen for some months started to slow down in February, as the surge in interest sparked towards the end of last summer began to level off. While this does not mean an end to the increasing activity we’ve been seeing recently, it does suggest that the pent up demand generated throughout the downturn is gradually exhausting itself. 

“The ongoing issue that we are facing, however, is the lack of homes coming onto the market. While it is true that more houses are being built, supply is simply not enough to satisfy demand. As a result, prices are likely to continue to move higher making it ever harder for people to take an initial step onto the property ladder.” 

Moving on to prices, the cost of a home in Scotland continued to rise during February, with 45 percent more chartered surveyors reporting prices rising rather than falling. The cost of a home has now risen across Scotland for ten consecutive months. 

Adrian Stott MRICS, J and E Shepherd, East Lothian commented: “The volume of transactions has been increasing and prices remain fairly stable. However, the lack of new supply is still an issue and is having an impact on the market.”

Looking ahead, respondents predict both prices and transaction levels to continue to increase as we enter the summer months when the market traditionally starts to pick up. 

Tuesday, 11 March 2014

Elite Ayrshire Business Circle welcomes Chinese delegation to meeting at Turnberry

Acting Chinese Consul General in Scotland Zhang Huazhong accompanied by Consular Attaché Zhu Ge paid a visit to Ayrshire last week.

They were accorded an informal civic reception by councillors and officials of South Ayrshire Council in County Buildings in Ayr on the evening of Thursday 6 March. (See separate report below).

And on the morning of Friday 7 March the two diplomats were the special guests of the Elite Ayrshire Business Circle at a business breakfast networking meeting held at the Turnberry Luxury Collection Resort, where they were joined by Bank of China manager Wang Dong and James Brodie from the China-Britain Business Council.

The meeting was hosted by Jordi Tarrida, general manager of Turnberry Luxury Collection Resort, and chaired by Norman Geddes, executive chairman of the Elite Ayrshire Business Circle and managing partner of Frazer Coogans Solicitors.

[Pictured left to right: James Brodie, China-Britain Business Council; Wang Dong, Bank of China; Miss Hua Wang, Blairquhan Castle; Provost Helen Moonie, South Ayrshire Council; Amanda Zhou, Blairquhan Castle; Jordi Tarrida, General Manager, Turnberry Luxury Collection Resort; Zhang Huazhong, Acting Consul General for China in Scotland; Norman Geddes, managing partner at Frazer Coogans Commercial Solicitors and executive chairman of the Elite Ayrshire Business Circle; and Meiqin McColm, Panda Monium Ltd.]

After Elite Ayrshire Business Circle executive chairman Norman Geddes had welcomed the assembled members and guests, Jordi Tarrida provided a comprehensive presentation on behalf of Turnberry Luxury Collection Resort.

Acting Chinese Consul General in Scotland Zhang Huazhong then gave a positive speech of encouragement to businesses interested in doing business with China, emphasising that he and his consular staff are available and anxious to assist in facilitating trade and commercial enterprise between our two countries.

James Brodie presented a useful and at times amusing set of slides about the market culture of China, and a few other pointers of practical interest to local businesses who would aspire to deal with Chinese companies and partners.

The meeting concluded with a guided tour of the magnificent premises and facilities at Turnberry.

Elite Ayrshire Business Circle and China

Since the beginning of the current challenging economic climate, the Elite Ayrshire Business Circle has been constantly advising and encouraging its members to seek out new business opportunities in regions of the world that were still managing to achieve continuing economic growth - notably China.

In October 2011, the Elite Ayrshire Business Circle in conjunction with South Ayrshire Council held a special meeting entitled “Encouraging Trade and Business between Ayrshire and China” at the Robert Burns Birthplace Museum.

The meeting was attended by the then Chinese Consul-General in Edinburgh Li Ruiyou, Consul Mr Wan Degang, and Deputy Consul Miss Zhu Hongying.

Building upon these initial contacts, and in order to further promote business and trade between Ayrshire and China, the Elite Ayrshire Business Circle arranged a meeting between the Chinese Consul-General in Scotland Mr Li Ruiyou, Scotland First Minister Alex Salmond and John Scott, MSP for Ayr at the Coral Scottish Grand National Festival at Ayr Racecourse in April 2012.

Then in September 2012 South Ayrshire Council Leader Bill McIntosh and Provost Helen Moonie welcomed ten senior business executives from China to the County Buildings in Ayr, when they attended an Elite Ayrshire Business Circle meeting.

Visit to China

Elite Ayrshire Business Circle executive chairman and Frazer Coogans Solicitors managing partner Norman Geddes spent the first week of 2013 in Shenzhen, southern China as the guest of Mr and Mrs Zhou and mineral water bottling and distribution company Ganten, who had recently purchased Blairquhan Castle in South Ayrshire.

Also in the visiting party were Norman’s wife and daughter, and Ayrshire business couple Jim and Meiqin McColm.

 The objective of the visit was to promote business and cultural links between China and Ayrshire.

 At the time of the purchase of Blairquhan Castle, Mr Zhou Jing Liang, owner and managing director of Ganten China, said: “Ganten wish to expand and diversify in Scotland with the aim of becoming a provider of top level accommodation and hospitality for elite Chinese and foreign tourists who desire only the best.”

Their aim is to stimulate business between China and Scotland and believe that they are the trailblazers, bringing valuable investment to Scotland.

The company are very sensitive to the cultural and historical aspects of Scotland and wish their move to be seen as promoting business here and culture in China.

Mr Zhou added: “It is the wish of Ganten to bring together the cultures of China and Scotland, by encouraging even greater tourist opportunities to the ever-growing affluent Chinese market.

“Ganten wish to become a pioneering, China-based organisation who shall bring to Scotland a sound and innovative platform for mutually beneficial tourist, cultural and commercial ventures.”

Elite Ayrshire Business Circle executive chairman Norman Geddes (pictured above) concluded: “The members of the Elite Ayrshire Business Circle span many areas of knowledge and capability, and we are delighted to be able to use our connections around the globe for the benefit of Ayrshire as a whole.
“Our members Jim and Meiqin McColm have played and continue to play an integral part in our efforts to further business between Ayrshire and China, for which we offer them our thanks and appreciation.”

PR-Inside  PRLog  BigNews  Frazer Coogans Solicitors

Irish raiders in top form at Ayr Racecourse

By Iain Ferguson

AYR Racecourse’s two day totepool March meeting turned into a benefit for the Irish raiding party, with no fewer than six of the 14 races going to the Emerald Isle.

[Pictured: Forward Flight winning at Ayr Racecourse on Saturday.]

The ball started rolling with the last two races on Friday – the Gordon Elliot trained, Davy Condon ridden Jimmy The Hat (9/1) landed the feature race, the Download the totepool Live Info App Handicap Chase followed by Gibbstown (7/2) with Derek Fox riding for Paul Stafford clinching the conditional jockeys’ handicap chase.

Trainer-jockey Ronan McNally rode his first ever British winner with See Double You (11/8 fav) in Saturday's totescoop6 Saturday's Big TV Bet Handicap Chase and the other Irish winners were Mrs Prunella Dobbs's Romantic Fashion (11/4 jt fav) in the mares' handicap hurdle, Mister Philson (7/2) for Stuart Crawford in the Hugh Barclay Challenge Trophy and The Unsub for Gordon Elliott in the bumper.

Coylton handler Ian Duncan saddled Finaghy Ayr to land Friday's Play Blackjack And Roulette At handicap hurdle at odds of 13/2.

And there was an opening day double for Lucinda Russell with Island Heights (11/8) in the James Barclay Challenge Trophy and Mysteree (13/8 fav) in the 20 New Casino Games At Handicap Hurdle.

Dumfries trainer James Ewart’s Avidity (7/2) won the two mile novice hurdle on Friday for Brian Hughes who also rode Plus Jamais (evens fav) to victory for Jim Goldie in the two mile handicap hurdle on Saturday.

Ayr’s next meeting is the Coral Scottish Grand National Festival on Friday 11 April and Saturday 12 April. For more information or to book tickets call 01292 264179 or go online at 

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.

China’s Acting Consul General in Scotland visits South Ayrshire Council

China’s Acting Consul General in Scotland Zhang Huazhong and his Consular Diplomatic Attaché Zhu Ge have paid a visit to South Ayrshire Council, as part of a tour of the local area exploring business, tourism and economic development opportunities.

[Pictured: China’s Acting Consul General in Scotland Zhang Huazhong (seated left) and his Consular Diplomatic Attaché Zhu Ge (seated right) with Provost Helen Moonie, Council Leader Councillor Bill McIntosh (seated far right) Councillor Bill Grant, Portfolio Holder for Economic Development, Tourism and Leisure, South Ayrshire Council Chief Executive Eileen Howat, Norman Geddes, executive chairman of the Elite Ayrshire Business Circle (seated far left), council officers, and members of the Chinese consular delegation.]

Welcoming the delegation to County Buildings Provost Moonie said: “We are honoured you have taken time out of your busy schedule to come and see us, and I am certain your visit to the area will help accelerate the way we can  learn about each other’s cultures, make new friendships and establish business links between our countries and regions.

“China and South Ayrshire share many areas of common interest – particularly in our desire to boost trade, encourage the economy and to promote tourism.

“We are fortunate that South Ayrshire is an area of outstanding natural beauty and we’re always proud to have a chance to show off what we have - and we welcome opportunities to explore ways to develop our assets locally, nationally and internationally.

“I positively welcome the opportunity for us to work closely together to maximise the opportunities we can both develop in the future.”

Provost Moonie presented Mr Zhang Huazhong with a gift as a memento of his visit and as a reminder of his time in South Ayrshire.

South Ayrshire Council has already been working hard with local businesses and organisations to develop links with China, welcoming previous visitors and trade delegations in 2009 and in 2011.

In 2012 members of China’s Ganten Company also purchased Blairquhan Castle, near Maybole, as part of a planned diversification of interests by Ganten Scotland Limited.

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

Monday, 10 March 2014

South Ayrshire Provost flies flag for the Commonwealth

Provost Helen Moonie led South Ayrshire’s participation in the largest, single raising of the Commonwealth Flag to mark Commonwealth Day in Ayr today (Monday 10 March).

[Pictured: Provost Moonie (wearing chain of office) with Honorary Consul-General of Ghana Dr Charles Aryiku (to her left), Depute Lord Lieutenant John Dalrymple-Hamilton (to the right) and pupils from Ayr Grammar Primary.]

Commonwealth Day is the annual celebration of the Commonwealth of Nations; however, 2014 marks the first time ever local authorities and civic dignitaries, community groups and charities throughout the British Isles have taken part in local flag raising events and ceremonies of dedication.

Charity teams are marking the day by taking Commonwealth Flags to the top of the UK’s four highest National Peaks, using the occasion to raise funds and profile for their worthy causes: Cancer Research UK – Scafell Pike, England; Help for Heroes – Ben Nevis, Scotland; Walking with the Wounded – Mount Snowdon, Wales; and Fields of Life – Slieve Donard, Northern Ireland.

Commonwealth Flags are also being flown at many locations of special significance including Unst in the Shetland Islands, the most northerly inhabited island in Scotland; the Rothera Research Station on the Antarctic Peninsula; and at the Halley VI Research Station on the Brunt Ice Shelf, as well as King Edward Point and Bird Island in South Georgia.

[Pictured: Provost Moonie raises the 
South Ayrshire Commonwealth Flag.]

South Ayrshire’s Commonwealth Flag – which was presented to Provost Moonie by Lord Lieutenant John Duncan last month – was raised in the St Germain-en-Laye gardens in Ayr in front of Councillors, guests and pupils from Ayr Grammar Primary. 

Also in attendance was the Honorary Consul-General of Ghana – Dr Charles Aryiku, who lives in Ayr. Ghana is one of South Ayrshire’s second teams for the 2014 Commonwealth Games alongside Kiribati (an island nation in the Pacific Ocean).

Before the Commonwealth Flag was raised, a special message from Her Majesty The Queen was read out by the Depute Lord Lieutenant John Dalrymple-Hamilton to those in attendance.

Provost Moonie then invited guests to join her in delivering the Commonwealth Affirmation before raising the Commonwealth Flag.

[Pictured: Depute Lord Lieutenant John Dalrymple-Hamilton, Provost Moonie and Honorary Consul-General of Ghana Dr Charles Aryiku with guests at the flag-raising ceremony including Ayr Grammar Primary pupils who made their own Commonwealth country flags for the occasion.]

Speaking after the flag-raising, Provost Moonie said: “The Commonwealth Flag is a reminder that we are part of a global family – one where we can all learn from each other, sharing ideas, cultures and values. That’s really what the Commonwealth is all about – promoting and encouraging tolerance, respect and understanding. These are values that make a difference to us all.

“We are a wealth of nations, cultures, peoples and values – each with something to offer and share with the others and the Commonwealth Flag is a very visual reminder of that. We should celebrate that not just on Commonwealth Day, but every day.”