The Elite Ayrshire Business Circle

The Elite Ayrshire Business Circle

Saturday, 14 November 2015

Scottish business people and politicians look to the future

More than 200 leading business figures gathered at the Scottish Parliament for the 10th Business in Parliament Conference on the 29th and 30th October 2015.

They discussed a range of issues affecting Scottish enterprise with politicians, among them First Minister Nicola Sturgeon. The event was chaired by the Presiding Officer, Rt Hon Tricia Marwick MSP.

The Business in the Parliament Conference is hosted jointly by the Scottish Parliament and the Scottish Government. It aims to facilitate engagement between Scotland’s businesses and politicians and forms part of a regular and on-going Parliament and Government programme of engagement with business organisations and senior business leaders across Scotland. The aim of this unique partnership event between the Scottish Parliament and the Scottish Government is to engage Scottish business in discussion about how to encourage sustainable growth in Scotland’s economy. 

Now in its 10th year, Business in the Parliament brings together over 200 of Scotland’s leading business people with politicians from all political parties.
Two leading Scottish entrepreneurs Rosemary EribĂ©, MD and founder of ERIBÉ Knitwear and Lesley Eccles, Founder and Senior Vice President of FanDuel provided the key note address at the conference which focussed on the theme of “Opportunities for Growth – Scottish business priorities for 2020”.

Representing the diversity of the Scottish economy, ERIBE Knitwear is one of Europe’s largest hand-knitting companies based in the Borders. FanDuel is a global leader in transatlantic sports entertainment founded in Edinburgh.
The Convener of the Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee, Murdo Fraser MSP, First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon MSP and Cabinet Secretary for Finance, Employment and Sustainable Growth, John Swinney MSP also addressed the conference, which was chaired by the Presiding Officer, Tricia Marwick MSP and held in the Debating Chamber of the Scottish Parliament.
Tricia Marwick said: “This event has become firmly established as a forum where business people can come together with politicians to debate the issues that really matter to them.  I was pleased to open the doors of the Parliament to our business community and to host a frank and lively discussion on the future of the Scottish economy.” 

Convener of the Economy Committee Murdo Fraser MSP said: “To be a successful and dynamic economy, our businesses must always be on the lookout for new markets, new technology and new opportunities to grow their business. So this year’s conference considered how Scottish businesses can capitalise on some of these exciting opportunities ensure we build a prosperous and productive economy for our future.”

Chic Brodie MSP (pictured below left) commented: “The future of Scotland depends on Scotland and how robust its economy becomes.  A meeting and conference with Scottish businesses is as important as business in Parliament and can take us towards that objective. The sharing of business plans and political strategy is very important.”

Elite Ayrshire Business Circle executive chairman and Frazer Coogans Commercial Solicitors senior director Norman Geddes (pictured above right) said “Once again this was a well-attended and informative Conference with excellent speeches by well-known business leaders plus the First Minister and other leading Scottish politicians. Each year all political parties participate and it provides a vital opportunity for the voice of Scottish business to be heard.”

Thursday, 12 November 2015

Nick Alexander lands double at Ayr Racecourse

By: Iain Ferguson

FIFE trainer Nick Alexander was the man in form at Ayr Racecourse this week saddling a double courtesy of Another Mattie and Calivigny.

The former, sent off at 9/1 in the two mile five furlong handicap hurdle and ridden by Brian Harding, was winning for the first time under rules on his 22nd start and crossed the line 10 lengths in front of nearest challenger Tantamount.

It was a win that delighted the trainer and he was back in the winners enclosure later in the afternoon with Calivigny (15/8 fav) in the three mile handicap hurdle. The horse had won at Ayr 16 days ago for the same jockey Stephen Mulqueen who rode a very confident race.

Nick would have landed his first ever treble but for a fall at the last by Frankie’s Promise, ridden by Brian Harding in the two mile four furlongs handicap chase. The seven year old gelding was clear when hitting the top of the obstacle sending his rider crashing to the ground. That left What A Dream (3/1) to land his second course win in 11 days for trainer Alison Hamilton and her nephew Jamie.

But Harding had better luck in the last race when he piloted My Little Cracker (10/1) to win the national hunt flat race for trainer Iain Jardine and Borders based owners Paul and Clare Rooney.

Lucinda Russell kept up her fine run of form by saddling Final Assault  (pictured above) (15/8 fav) to win the feature race, the three mile handicap chase, in the hands of Derek Fox.

Lucinda said afterwards: “It was a step up in trip for the horse and he did it well. He’s one of the best jumpers in the yard and we’ll look at the Rehearsal Chase at Newcastle for him later in the month.”

Ayr’s next meeting is Christmas Party Raceday on Monday 21 December. For more information on racing at Ayr call 01292 264179 or go online at 

Vernon Kay to DJ at Racecourse

TELEVISION and radio personality Vernon Kay is to perform a DJ set at an exciting new race night at Ayr Racecourse next year.

The Family Fortunes star (pictured above) who is also the host of the morning show on new station Radio X will take to the stage following racing at the June evening meeting on Friday 17 June.

Vernon will play a 90 minute set in the Ayrshire Suite and is sure to attract a huge crowd eager to see him on what should a brilliant night.

One of the most recognisable stars on television Vernon landed a regular gig on Channel 4’s T4 in 2000 and also was a presenter for BBC2’s Top Of The Pops Plus.

He joined Radio 1 in 2006 and presented a weekly slot until he left the station in 2012.

Vernon has hosted a variety of shows for both BBC1 and ITV1 including All Star Family Fortunes and he is now in his 10th series and is also the host of a brand new game show for ITV1 Daytime called 1000 Heartbeats.

In September this year Vernon joined Chris Moyles and Johnny Vaughan on Radio X.

Now on 17 June at Ayr Racecourse Vernon will play his DJ set at this exciting new Race Night.

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.

Supply shortfall pushes house prices up further across Scotland

The October RICS UK Residential Market Survey shows house prices continuing to rise in Scotland as a shortage of new stock supports growth, despite a slight easing in recent buyer demand.

For the third consecutive month, prices are reported to have risen in all parts of the UK in October. In Scotland, 38% more chartered surveyors saw house prices rise rather than fall and the outlook for the coming year is positive with a net balance of 54% expecting to see further price growth. East Anglia has consistently outperformed over this period with a net balance of 91% of surveyors in the area reporting growth this month

Buyer demand levelled off in October following twelve months of steady growth while supply also remained broadly unchanged. Despite the moderation in demand, sales activity continues to rise in Scotland, with a net balance of 26% more respondents seeing an increase in transactions in October.

RICS Scotland director Sarah Speirs commented: “It is hard to get away from the issue of supply when it comes to the current state of the housing market. The legacy of the drop in new build following the onset of the global financial crisis is now really hitting home with both the sales and letting markets continuing to show demand outstripping supply on a month by month basis.

“RICS would like to see a commitment from the next Scottish Government administration that delivers a definite plan for delivering attainable targets across all housing tenures to ensure that supply needs are met.”

In the Scottish lettings market, demand is also continuing to outpace supply in the three months to October*. This has been the trend nationally for some time, with the growth in demand continuing to outstrip that of supply. Unsurprisingly, rental expectations remain strong, with a net balance of 12% of respondents expecting a rise in rents over the next three months.

Wednesday, 11 November 2015

CKD Galbraith offers for sale a traditional country house on the banks of the River Ayr

Leading independent Scottish property consultancy CKD Galbraith is offering for sale Privick Mill, a traditional country house built around 1820 and situated on the banks of the River Ayr. 

The River Ayr is the longest in the county at 41 miles long and flows from its source at Glenbuck Reservoir to its estuary at Ayr and the Firth of Clyde. In a good season in excess of 500 salmon might be caught on the river, with good runs of brown trout and grayling. The Annbank Fishery is located nearby, offering Grade “A” trout for fly fishing, and there is also a local Angling Club.

The accommodation of Privick Mill is well proportioned and has retained much of its original charm. 

However it does require a degree of modernisation and upgrading to modern day standards. 

There are three good-sized bedrooms and a bathroom on the first floor, whilst on the ground floor there is a sitting room, dining room, WC and kitchen. A further bedroom, garden room and shower room can be accessed from a rear porch, which also leads into the kitchen.

The land of Privick Mill extends to about 16 acres. of which approximately 12 acres provide good grazing in fenced paddocks. There are a number of useful outbuildings which adjoin the house, forming a sheltered courtyard, including three good-sized stables and a large workshop. 

The original stone mill lies adjacent to the house and offers excellent scope for development subject to planning permission. The gardens are sheltered by mature woodland and slope gently down to the river bank.

Offers Over £325,000 are being sought.

PDF available on

CKD Galbraith 
7 Killoch Place 
Ayr KA7 2EA 
Ayrshire, Scotland 

Tel: 01292 268181   
Fax: 01292 292300 

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

Tuesday, 10 November 2015

Leading regeneration specialist to head up transformation of Loudoun Castle site

• £525 million project will create 2,500 jobs and boost local economy 

• Appointment of entrepreneur significantly strengthens project team 

• Legacy and community at the heart of this historic East Ayrshire development 

Loudoun Castle Project has strengthened its management team following the appointment of entrepreneur and regeneration specialist Paul Dixon.  

Paul (pictured above0 will act as principal lead on the £525 million development, which will bring much needed investment to East Ayrshire and the wider Ayrshire economy.  

With over 40 years’ experience in economy boosting projects, Paul boasts an impressive CV. 

The trained accountant founded Dixon Motors in 1973 – building it up to become the third largest motor retail group in the UK. 

Since then the married father-of-three has held several senior positions on dozens of development projects – which have all brought lasting value to their local areas.  

Paul said: “I am absolutely delighted to be coming on board with the Loudoun Castle Project. For me this is a once in a lifetime opportunity to create something unique that captures the spirit of Loudoun and the culture of Scotland. I have been truly impressed by the plans for the site. 

“This development has incredible potential and could bring real economic, cultural and social benefit to East Ayrshire and the wider Scottish economy. 

“Added value is always at the heart of every project I have undertaken and I believe my experience will bring much to the development and subsequent legacy of Loudoun Castle. 

“In the past 40 years I have been fortunate to have been involved in a number of major regeneration projects bringing back to life everything from redundant factory sites to brownfield sites.  

“A number of the projects I have worked on have secured National Government or European Union Grants and this is a skill set I can bring to the table for the Loudoun Project. 

“I would like to thank the East Ayrshire Council and the Scottish Government for guiding and supporting the Loudoun Castle Project through the planning process.” 

Should planning permission be granted for phase one, the Loudoun Castle Project will create a world class holiday and leisure destination, a brand new Loudoun distillery, up to 1,025 new homes, a renovated and stabilised Castle building and will deliver a plan for the conversion of  Loudoun Castle itself into a 4/5 star hotel.  

Phase two at Loudoun is also being prepared for planning and will include a tourism led luxury brands outlet village of some 340,000 square feet, a whisky visitor centre selling Loudoun whisky and several new quality hotels to provide for the many visitors expected to the area. 

Phase one will employ 800 people from the local area in the hospitality and leisure sectors while another 1,700 new jobs will be created in the retail side of the completed development. Local universities and colleges have indicated that they will liaise with the senior management team to offer courses which can dovetail with the needs of this new and exciting development for Ayrshire.  

The masterplan will see the 610-acre former family theme park transformed into an all-weather resort featuring 450 luxury lodges, 12 glamping pitches, and a lake and leisure development featuring indoor sports facilities and a subtropical water park.  

Loudoun Castle itself will be stabilised with leading conservation specialists assessing what can be achieved for the future of the site. There will also be the creation of new communities comprising up to 1,025 new homes to enable the restoration of the Castle buildings.  

Timescales are subject to planning but if successful, work would begin onsite in 2017 with an anticipated opening during 2019 and phased development beyond. 

It is anticipated that around 1,000 jobs will be created in the construction process alone for a period of at least five years with an additional 2,500 long term jobs created through the leisure and retail offering.   

Plans for the residential development will feature a mix of starter homes, bungalows and three, four and five-bedroom family homes.  

David Mace, Chairman of The Loudoun Castle Project, said: “The Loudoun Castle development will bring significant long term benefit to East Ayrshire and indeed Scotland through jobs, investment and infrastructure.  

“We understand that there are several overseas investors looking to invest in Ayrshire and we believe that as a Scottish Government supported project, the Loudoun Castle Project can indeed be a cornerstone, foundation and great example of what can be done in, and for Ayrshire, with a realistic vision, a great design and project team, good solid investors and a desire to build a worthwhile legacy. 

“Adding the expertise of Paul to the team of leading business professionals already working on the project only reinforces that legacy. 

“From speaking to local individuals and community groups, we believe that it has long been an aspiration of the people of East Ayrshire to secure the future of Loudoun Castle. We are absolutely committed to turning this vision into reality and very much look forward to working with other local stakeholders to make this hugely important development a reality of delivering a world class resort with a stunning castle and a tourism focused luxury brands outlet village.” 

The Loudoun Castle Project has a management team with many years of experience in the property, leisure and tourism industries. Key partners include global programme management and construction consultancy Turner & Townsend, strategic planning consultants RPS and specialist castle and heritage consultant Francis Shaw of Shaw & Jagger.