The Elite Ayrshire Business Circle

The Elite Ayrshire Business Circle

Friday, 26 June 2015

South Ayrshire Council seeks views on £1.6M budget saving proposals

South Ayrshire Councillors have given the green light to budget savings of more than £4.7 million for the next three financial years, and agreed that local people and communities will be asked for their views on a further £1.6 million of budget savings proposals. 


[Pictured: Councillor Bill McIntosh, 
Leader of South Ayrshire Council.]

The decision means more than £9.3 million of efficiency savings have been identified by the Council for 2016/17-2018/19, with Councillors approving savings of £4.55 million for the next financial year in December 2014.

This leaves the Council with a further £7.5 million of estimated savings to find over the next three years, based on the Council's Financial Strategy. With levels of Scottish Government funding for this period not yet known, the strategy anticipates the need – before this week's Council decision – for a further £4.2 million savings for 2016/17, £6.4 million for 2017/18 and £6.2 million for 2018/19.

The savings approved by Councillors include more than £1.7 million of 'management actions' such as reducing budget allocations to reflect current or required levels of spending.

Management actions include a £491,000 reduction in the budget to reflect falling school rolls; a reduction of £150,000 in the central budget to support certain teaching staff costs (such as funding additional staff to support new initiatives); an increase in planning and building warrant fee income of £150,000 to reflect increases in the number of applications being received annually; and a saving of £257,897 through the termination of the existing payroll maintenance contract, which is being replaced by a new system.

Also approved – although there will be further development of these before they are implemented – was another £3 million of savings. This includes:

A reduction of £800,000 in the cost of supported living for people with learning disabilities by reviewing the level of 24 hour support provided, the care arrangements in place and creating a new shared accommodation facility.
Reducing spending from the Central Repairs Account by £300,000 to reflect better targeting of the repairs work programme, the major capital investment ongoing in schools and less need for a reactive service.
A saving of £250,000 by reviewing centrally-based educational services staff.
Saving £75,000 by reducing the number of vehicles used to sweep the streets and collect commercial waste – this will be done by using vehicles on a 'double shift' basis, meaning they are used more hours per day.
A review of how often the Council collects different household waste bins to reduce costs by £80,000 as well as the amount of waste that goes to landfill.

In addition, Councillors will be seeking the views of people and communities across South Ayrshire on proposals totalling £1.6 million – that means the Council will consider what the public think of these proposals before any final decisions are made.

The savings proposals communities will be asked for their views on are:

Ensure people get most appropriate care by balancing use of nursing and residential care to reflect support required: £600,000 saving
Review support available to older people for unscheduled care – the care that we don't yet know that people will need – to make best use of resources, put measures in place to reduce likelihood of hospital admissions and improve outcomes: £500,000
Reduce centrally-held Curriculum for Excellence and Determined to Succeed budgets, which support purchase of relevant materials: £150,000
Increase bereavement charges for burial and cremation: £82,000 
Reduce school-based Curriculum for Excellence budget, which supports the purchase of relevant materials: £60,000
Reduce programme of primary school swimming lessons to reflect a more targeted approach: £40,000
Reduce Scheme of Assistance budget for improvement works in mixed tenure blocks (where both Council tenants and private owner-occupiers live), by making less grants available to private owners: £30,000
Increase swimming lesson fee (£3.60 to proposed £5.33 per lesson) to reflect a modernised and enhanced programme with reduced class sizes, lower waiting lists, and extra classes, which supports progression through different swimming levels, includes badges and certificates and unlimited free swimming throughout the programme for those taking swimming lessons (would also include a direct debit payment option): £30,000
Increase sharing of Head Teachers in small schools: £25,000
Remove school transport provision from Maybole Road, which is outwith the statutory guidelines: £25,000
Introduce charge for administering school funds: £20,000
Review the Anti-Social Behaviour Team: £20,000
Introduce proposed charges of between £10-£50 for pre-application planning advice to reflect level of support required such as letter, meeting or site visit: £20,000.

Councillor Bill McIntosh, Leader of South Ayrshire Council, said: "Getting the most out of our money is something we all try to achieve and our priority is to ensure that every pound we spend makes a difference for the people and communities of South Ayrshire.

"That's a real challenge as we only have a limited amount of money to spend and there's lots of demands for the services we provide, so it's vital we make the right decisions about where our money goes. The savings agreed today help us do just that by making sure we can balance the budget while protecting – as far as possible – the frontline services that make such a difference to the people of South Ayrshire.

"We understand the impact the decisions we make have on those people and that's why we're seeking the views of our communities on the savings proposals that will have a more direct impact on them – for example, by changing what level of service we deliver or the cost of delivering that service.

"I would encourage as many people as possible to let us know what they think and we will take these views on board before making any further decisions to ensure we continue to deliver the best possible services with the resources available."

Councillor John McDowall, Depute Leader of the Council, added: "Determining where and how we spend the money available to us is the most important decision we make as Councillors and it's not a decision we take lightly. We've worked to put our money where it matters most and where it can make the biggest difference for people. I'm pleased our communities will have the chance to input into that process and let us know what they think of identified savings proposals before any further decisions are made."

Councillor Robin Reid, Portfolio Holder for Resources and Performance, concluded: "Like every Council, we have to live within our means and our focus has been to make sure we're running our services in the most efficient way and looking at where we can make the necessary cuts in costs with minimum impact on frontline service delivery. That's difficult, and it will only get more difficult as time goes on. But I'm confident we've done what we can to achieve that and I look forward to hearing the views of our communities before we make any further decisions."

Plans for gathering community views on identified savings proposals are currently being finalised. In the meantime, any comments or views regarding the budget savings can be emailed to budgetviews@south-ayrshire.gov.uk.

Final decisions regarding these proposals will be made later in the year as part of the 2016/17 and 2017/18 budget setting process. At that time, Councillors will also consider the uncommitted draft reserve balance – the reserves that have not been allocated for projects such as investment in ICT or to support new ways of working, or repairs and renewals. 

The uncommitted general reserves balance – the monies not allocated for specific pieces of work – currently sits at almost £15.22 million, which is 5.8% of the 2015/16 budget. In line with the Council's Financial Strategy, the Council is only required to maintain uncommitted reserves of between 2% and 4% or £5.23 million and £10.46 million.

Councillors will therefore consider the level of reserves it wants to maintain above 2% (£5.23 million) and the use of any additional funds that are then available for investment. 

Full details of the savings and proposals agreed today are available HERE.

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


Thursday, 25 June 2015

Increased prize money for Gold Cup Festival at Ayr Racecourse

By: Iain Ferguson

FOUR races at the William Hill Ayr Gold Cup Festival, Scotland’s biggest and richest flat fixture, have been given a substantial prize money boost. 

The William Hill Ayr Gold Cup now carries £180,000, up by £20,000 on last year. 

The Shadwell Stud EBF Stallions Harry Rosebery Stakes, a Listed Race, will now be worth £50,000, a rise of £10,000 from last year while Scotland’s only Group race, the Group 3 William Hill Firth Of Clyde Stakes goes up in value from £60,000 to £65,000 and the William Hill Doonside Cup, a Listed Race, also receives a £5,000 hike to £65,000. 


The five furlong Harry Rosebery Stakes for two year olds, which this year will be run on Friday 18 September, boasts some famous past winners including Garswood (pictured above} who won it in 2012 before going on to land the Group 1 Prix Maurice de Gheest at Deauville last year. 

The William Hill Firth of Clyde Stakes, also for two year olds, is run on the Saturday of the meeting and was a Listed Race until 2004 when it was elevated to its current Group status while the William Hill Doonside Cup over a one mile two furlongs on the Saturday has been captured by Godolphin runners on five of the last 11 runnings. 

Ayr Racecourse managing director David Brown said: “By boosting the prize money of three of our most prestigious races we are underlining our commitment to attracting the best quality horses possible to Ayr. 

“Over the years the William Hill Ayr Gold Cup Festival has grown in stature and we feel this latest investment will further enhance Scotland’s premier flat fixture.” 

The total prize fund for the William Hill Ayr Gold Cup Festival will now be more than £660,000. 

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.


Wednesday, 24 June 2015

CKD Galbraith offer superb Ayrshire coastal rental apartments right by the shore

With summer on its way, your thoughts may begin to turn to sand, sea and sleeping arrangements and that well-earned break by the beach. But your seaside stay need not stop at a fleeting fortnight - thanks to these two coastal apartments new to the lettings market with CKD Galbraith’s Ayr office.


The Grade B listed Dunure House is a traditional stone building consisting of two apartments, each of which are currently on the lettings market for £925 per calendar month.  Both the upper and lower flats of Dunure House offer a well-proportioned living space with formal lounge, sitting room, dining/breakfasting kitchen and four double bedrooms. 


The upper flat enjoys some art deco features in its bathrooms and a charming fireplace; while both have private parking and private garden grounds. Truly outstanding sea views to the Clyde of Firth and towards Arran and Aisla Craig are there to be enjoyed, particularly from the sitting rooms with their bowed projections.


Located in the pretty fishing village of Dunure, the house is believed to have been built in the early nineteenth century. At around the same time in 1811 the village’s sheltered harbour was improved by the Kennedy Family. The Kennedys are also closely associated with the nearby and now ruined Dunure Castle (once their main fortress) and Culzean Castle, now a popular visitor attraction in the care of the National Trust for Scotland.

Joyce Smart, handling the letting of both properties for CKD Galbraith, said: “Both the Dunure House apartments are delightful with excellent sea views. Only a stone’s throw from the shoreline, the beach is literally seconds from the front door of these two excellent homes!”

The upper and lower flats of Dunure House are both available to rent, each priced at £925 per calendar month. More information can be found at www.ckdgalbraith.co.uk or by telephoning the firm’s Ayr office on 01292 268181.

About CKD Galbraith 

CKD Galbraith is an independent property consultancy employing 225 staff in offices across Scotland including Edinburgh, Stirling, Perth, Cupar, Inverness, Castle Douglas, Ayr, Elgin, Galashiels, Kelso, and Aberdeen, offering local knowledge, national expertise and enjoying international reach. 

The firm is Scotland’s largest and leading rural consultancy managing and providing advice on farm, forestry, land and estate interests on over three million acres.  CKD Galbraith provides the full range of property consulting services across the residential sales and lettings, commercial, rural and renewable energy sectors throughout Scotland and northern England. The partnership also enjoys a successful relationship with its associate firm in London, CKD Kennedy Macpherson.

To find out more about CKD Galbraith visit www.ckdgalbraith.co.uk

CKD Galbraith’s Ayr Office is a Founder Member of the Elite Ayrshire Business Circle.


Tuesday, 23 June 2015

Jockey David Allan sets his sights on Gold Cup at Ayr Racecourse

By: Iain Ferguson

A record crowd of 6,883 at Ayr Racecourse’s Scottish Sun Raceday saw jockey David Allan land the feature race - the £40,000 Scottish Sun British Stallion Studs EBF Land O’Burns Fillies Stakes - on board 33/1 shot Katawi for Newmarket trainer Chris Wall.


David, (pictured above with Katawi and winning connections after Saturday’s feature race), and who was born just 12 miles from the track in Irvine, immediately set his sights on Scotland’s biggest flat race of the season the William Hill Ayr Gold Cup.

He said: “I’ve won the Group 3 Firth Of Clyde Stakes in the past and now this Listed Race so the Ayr Gold Cup is next on my hit list. I would dearly love to win it being an Ayrshire man.”

Another jockey with reason to celebrate was David Nolan who rode a treble. His first success came courtesy of a Stewards Inquiry in the Scottish Sun On Sunday Handicap. Nolan’s mount Intiwin, trained by Richard Fahey, was beaten a short head by Little Lady Katie, ridden by Jordan Vaughan but the stewards reversed the placings after ruling that Vaughan’s horse had carried Intiwin across the track inside the final furlong. The young jockey received a four day ban.

Win number two for Nolan came in the mile handicap on the aptly named Two For Two, trained by David O’Meara and winning the race for the second year in succession. The 9/2 chance went clear inside the last and despite the best efforts of Santefisio won by a length.

And Nolan’s hat trick came on another horse that could have been named for the occasion – Hit The Jackpot, trained by David O’Meara who prevailed by a short head in a thrilling finish from Mica Mika.

The elated jockey said: “I’ve ridden a treble in the dim and distant past but that was at a small meeting at Brighton today’s was special coming on a Saturday at a course like Ayr.”

The day finished on a high for trainer Ruth Carr who saddled the winner in each of the last two races, both ridden by James Sullivan.

First up was Lexington Place in the Arnold Clark Handicap which won in a three way photograph from Indescribable and Rothesay Chancer. In the unsaddling enclosure afterwards  Ruth said she thought her next runner Vallarta would also win – and she was proved right when the top weight won by three quarters of a length from Subversive.

Ayr’s next meeting is totepool Family Raceday on Sunday 5 July. For more information on racing at Ayr or to book tickets call 01292 264179 or go online at www.ayr-racecourse.co.uk

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.


Monday, 22 June 2015

Frazer Coogans Commercial Solicitors sponsor Royal Highland Show

Leading Ayr-based legal firm Frazer Coogans Commercial Solicitors were delighted by the support received for their first sponsorship venture at the Royal Highland Show which has just ended at Ingliston near Edinburgh, and which attracted a record number of visitors. 


[Pictured: Frazer Coogans Commercial Solicitors directors 
Norman Geddes (left) and Peter McNamara (right).]

This year the Show was attended by HRH The Princess Anne who was welcomed to the Show by this year’s President, Lord Forsyth. 

Frazer Coogans became the first sponsors of the new Livestock Ring Hospitality Marquee situated between the two Cattle Competition Rings.  

Senior director Norman Geddes said, “We were very pleased to have this opportunity to support the Royal Highland Show and delighted by the interest shown in the new facility which we sponsored. It was visited by many Sponsors, Directors, Judges and Officials. We also enjoyed visits by many of our own clients, from as far afield as Moray, Perthshire, Dumfries, Galloway, and of course our many friends from Ayrshire. The location of the venue was first class with a marvellous outlook to the Cattle Judging and we enjoyed a very busy time.” 

The Royal Highland Show is Scotland’s largest outdoor event, contributing £47.1m to the Scottish economy in 2014. The 2015 show attracted a record crowd of 188,419 over the four days of the Show. 

As well as Norman Geddes, in attendance from Frazer Coogans were Director Peter McNamara and Solicitor Craig Currie from the firm’s busy Agricultural and Commercial Law team, supported by Clare Geddes.  

Peter McNamara said “We were particularly proud to be the first sponsors of this marvellous new facility and delighted to meet so many friends, old and new. We look forward to supporting this venue again next year.”  

Frazer Coogans Solicitors supports a large number of farming clients throughout Scotland. They provide a prompt and cost-effective service in relation to all aspects of agricultural and country property including sale, purchase and leasing of farms and farmland, wind turbine agreements, access and water issues, partnerships and family business re-arrangement including Wills, Trusts, Tax Advice and Succession Planning. 

Senior Director Norman Geddes has been in practice since 1976 and has spent many years advising clients on all legal aspects of farms, farming business and country property. He has an extensive knowledge of the property market and regularly visits farming clients to provide advice. He has a particular interest in advising on issues affecting farming partnerships, and on matters of business succession and inheritance. 

Peter McNamara is a director in the Commercial Property Department. He has extensive experience in all aspects of Agricultural and Commercial Property including Development Land, Farms and Country Properties and Caravan and Leisure Parks. He is also a Chartered Tax Adviser, advising on Tax Planning and is an associate of the Association of Taxation Technicians and a qualified member of the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners. 

Frazer Coogans Solicitors is a Founder Member of the Elite Ayrshire Business Circle, of which Norman Geddes is the Executive Chairman.