The Elite Ayrshire Business Circle

The Elite Ayrshire Business Circle

Friday, 16 December 2016

A Christmas message from South Ayrshire Provost Helen Moonie

As Provost, it’s a great privilege for me to see first-hand the good work being carried out in our communities. I travel across South Ayrshire all year round visiting groups, companies and organisations that work tirelessly to make lives better for all of us.

Looking back over the year, one of my personal highlights was the Homecoming Parade in June, when 300 soldiers from The Royal Highland Fusiliers, 2nd Battalion, The Royal Regiment of Scotland were greeted by thousands of people as they marched down Ayr High Street. Our support for the armed forces remains strong, and it was fantastic to see such a warm welcome.

2016 was also a significant year for our work with communities blighted by conflict and persecution, and this year we welcomed the first families through the Syrian Relocation Scheme. So far sixteen people from four families have settled here, and I hope they continue to prosper as they rebuild their lives in new communities.

Support for older people took a step forward, with the launch of Dementia Friendly Prestwick. This new organisation aims to raise awareness of dementia locally, in order to reduce stigma and provide practical tips and advice to local residents and businesses on how to support people living with the condition. It’s something I wholeheartedly support, and I hope to see the campaign thrive and expand in the months ahead.

As many of you will know, environmental issues are close to my heart, and this year saw the very first Provost’s School Footprint Challenge take place. Pupils from all of our secondary schools took part, with Kyle Academy crowned the inaugural winners of an award designed to make schools more environmentally friendly. This complements our ongoing participation in WWF’s Earth Hour event which we’ve been recognised as among the best in Scotland for four years in a row, which is really something to be proud of.

And of course, all through the year I have been helping couples celebrate their milestone weddings with an incredible 22 visits in 2016, something which shows that long, happy marriages remain an important part of our society, and that’s definitely something to applaud.

And our longstanding traditions are also something to celebrate during the festive period. Think back over the years – even to a Victorian Christmas.  Back then some folk had a comfortable Christmas, lots of good food, gifts, a warm cosy house, family, friends – and some people didn’t.  It’s almost as if that one day intensifies how we feel about our lives.  

And as so much changes around us, it’s good to know that some things remain the same. That’s the thing about Christmas; it’s part of our lives, our culture and tradition. So why would we want to change Christmas? Perhaps because we don’t like to think that at a time when many have so much there are folk who are lonely, without family, friends or loved ones, children and families who can only hope for better times, folk who feel shut out.  If everyone who has a care for others does even just a little good turn, the cumulative impact will be a giant change.

This year was the second year of the Council’s Giving Tree appeal, with generous staff donating presents to more than 560 young people who might not otherwise have received a Christmas present this year, which is something I’m really proud of. For me, Christmas will always be Christmas, but we can all work to make a difference.

I would like to wish you all the best for the festive season. I hope that the New Year brings you everything that you hope for.

South Ayrshire Provost Helen Moonie.

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

Thursday, 8 December 2016

Plans move ahead for anchor development for Ayr’s new Riverside Block

Ambitious proposals to kick-start the regeneration of an historic part of Ayr town centre are now moving forward. South Ayrshire Council has approved plans to develop new office accommodation at the Riverside Block, which will act as the first part of the wider development.

Ayr Renaissance recently submitted a masterplan for a mixed development between High Street and the River Ayr which includes provision for quality office accommodation and housing, as well as for niche retail units, cafes, restaurants and public spaces. The masterplan sets out a commitment to top quality design to an overall scale that respects the surrounding conservation area. 

The Council is now moving ahead with the design stage for a new modern office development that will eventually house around 350 workers. SWHub will oversee the development work in partnership with the Council and Keppie Architects, appointed to plan and design the offices.

The final design will respond to the requirements of the masterplan and incorporate active space which can be used outside of normal office hours. The new building will replace a number of offices in Ayr which are showing their age and are uneconomic to run. These offices will be sold or demolished on completion of the new office project.

Councillor Robin Reid, South Ayrshire Council’s Portfolio Holder for Resources and Performance said it was an exciting time for the development, “This transformational project has now reached a significant milestone, something which has only been made possible thanks to the hard work of Council officers and Ayr Renaissance.

“The tenders are also out for the contract to demolish the existing buildings on the site, meaning the momentum around the development is quickly gathering pace.

“I’m pleased to say that the public will soon see tangible progress on the ground, as the project takes shape in the months ahead.”

The completed Stage 2 design, which will include a fully developed and costed scheme, is due to be considered by South Ayrshire Council in March 2017.

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

Wednesday, 7 December 2016

Treble for trainer Nick Alexander as Ayr Racecourse beats the frost

Fife trainer Nick Alexander was in treble winning form at Ayr Racecourse on Monday, saddling three winners topped off by a 1-2-3 in the feature race of the afternoon.

Wins for Gold Opera, ridden by Blair Campbell, in the Racing UK Profits Returned to Racing Handicap Chase, Titian Boy in the two and a half mile handicap chase and Marlee Massie in the two mile five furlong Novices Limited Handicap Chase - both ridden by Brian Hughes - gave Nick a 24-1 treble.

[Pictured: Marlee Massie clears a fence on the way to 
giving Nick Alexander and Brian Hughes a three timer.]

But to saddle the first three home in the Limited Handicap, with Calivigny and Buffalo Ballet chasing home Marlee Massie, also gave him great satisfaction.

He said: “I’ve never had a treble before, so that was satisfying, but to be fair I thought all my horses in the novices chase went there with a bit of a chance, so I am delighted to have the first three.”

Racing went ahead at Ayr despite temperatures falling overnight to -3C, and Nick Alexander was quick to praise Clerk of the Course Emma Marley for her foresight in covering the entire track in frost covers on Friday, therefore beating the freezing conditions.

Nick said: “Other courses should take a leaf out of Emma’s book. It shows you what can be done to beat adverse weather.”

Jockey Brian Hughes also had a treble on the day with Daytripper, trained by Iain Jardine, winning Division 1 of the two mile three furlong handicap hurdle to add to his successes for Nick Alexander.

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.

Sunday, 4 December 2016

Public given first glimpse of the new look Queen Margaret Academy

Communities across South Ayrshire are being invited to find out more about the planned replacement for Queen Margaret Academy (QMA). South Ayrshire Council is to hold a public exhibition, prior to submitting a formal planning application, to discuss the pre-application proposals on Tuesday 13 December.

[Pictured: Artist’s impression of how the 
new Queen Margaret Academy might look.]

Earlier this year it was announced that QMA would receive part-funding from the 'Schools for the Future' programme. The £25million project will see £8.5million committed from South Ayrshire Council and £16.5million from the Scottish Government. Once completed, QMA will transform facilities for the existing school and the wider community for generations.

The Council has been actively engaging with the community to gather their views on the project. In September and October the project team spoke to representatives from the school and the wider area to capture their vision, values, and ideas to ensure their involvement at a key stage in the design process. Children, young people, staff and parents from QMA and its associated primary schools attended workshops along with local community groups.

The next stage will see a public exhibition held at Queen Margaret Academy on Tuesday 13 December between 2.00pm – 8pm.

Councillor Margaret Toner, South Ayrshire Council’s Portfolio Holder for Lifelong Learning said she expected the event to be well attended, “We’ve been actively listening to the views of our communities in recent months, and this event offers a valuable opportunity to meet with people face-to-face to discuss progress.

“While the plans are still at an early stage we will continue discussions on what people would like to see from the new school, and try to incorporate their feedback wherever possible.

“I’m sure there will be strong local interest in the exhibition and for anyone who can’t attend on the day we’re making further opportunities available in the weeks ahead.”

Information on the proposed development can be viewed at the South Ayrshire Council website from Tuesday 13 December. Members of the public wishing to comment on the proposed development are invited to do so in person at the exhibition or directly to the agent no later than Fri 23 December 2016:

Address:        Building Design Partnership, 15 Exchange Place, Glasgow G1 3AN


The exhibition marks is the next stage in the pre-application consultation process. No planning application has been submitted at this time.

All comments on the project should be directed to the agent, Building Design Partnership. Comments made to the agent are not representations to South Ayrshire Council as the relevant planning authority. When the Council submits a formal planning application there will be further opportunities to make representations on the application.

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

Tuesday, 22 November 2016

Transformational plans unveiled to breathe new life into Ayr Riverside

Ambitious plans to transform a neglected part of Ayr’s historic town centre into a thriving new public realm have been unveiled. The new masterplan for the Ayr Riverside Block has been submitted to South Ayrshire Council by Ayr Renaissance.

Known as the Riverside Block between the medieval “Auld Brig” and the Victorian “New Bridge", the plans include sweeping away the massive retail stores which have blocked access to the river since the 1960s and the creation of landscaped public realm alongside a festival building and an elegant new waterfront for the town.

The masterplan presents a vision for a mixed development which could include quality office accommodation and housing as well as space for niche retail units, cafes, restaurants and spaces for public engagement. The plan sets out a commitment to top quality design including the use of materials that relate to existing historic buildings and to an overall scale that respects the surrounding conservation area.  

Ayr Renaissance chairman James Knox said: “The balance of the development depends on the added value created by the quality of the architecture, the welcome to the public afforded by the originality and openness of the plan and the content of the public realm. Getting these right is the key to unlocking long-term regeneration of the town centre for generations to come.” 

The masterplan has been prepared by architect Niall McLaughlin, who has worked extensively for Oxford University and the London Olympic Authority, and Charles Jencks, world-renowned land artist and co-founder of Maggie’s Centres which builds cancer centres designed the world’s top architects.

James Knox said: “This brilliant masterplan offers a once in a generation opportunity to bring back bustle, business and public enjoyment to the heart of Ayr. Decades of blight could be swept away, views of the Auld Brig and the Town Hall revealed, with the riverside site in line to become a magnet for the local community and visitors alike.”

Traditional vennels, in keeping with the existing town centre, will open up informal pedestrian connections throughout the Riverside Block site from all directions; while in the longer term, the River Ayr Walk, which currently ends at the Auld Brig, could continue across the site, running along the river to the sea. The north shore is also part of the plan which will be re-landscaped as part of the framing of a new River Square including the stretch of river flanked by both bridges - with the potential to become the focal point for festivities and events.

The masterplan serves as the basis for the planning application submitted by Ayr Renaissance to enable demolition of most of the riverside block which is in a conservation area. The evolution of the masterplan included two public consultation days and two peer review workshops run by Architecture and Design Scotland. Tenders for the demolition have been issued to ensure a start can be made on site provided the necessary consents are granted.

The application is due to be considered by South Ayrshire Council in early 2017. If planning approval is granted, existing buildings would be demolished, with an archaeological dig to follow across the whole site to uncover the secrets of medieval Ayr.

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

Monday, 21 November 2016

Two December meetings at Ayr Racecourse

By: Iain Ferguson

AYR Racecourse stages two December meetings this year – on Monday 5 December and Monday 19 December.

Both are six race cards, with the first of the fixtures featuring the Chase, a novices’ limited handicap over two miles five furlongs, which should see some younger horses setting out on their chasing careers.

There is also a two and a half mile novices’ hurdle to open the card at 12.40pm, while the action ends at 3.20pm with a national hunt flat race over two miles.

The December 19 meeting – Christmas Party Raceday – is highlighted with the Watch Racing UK Today Just £10 Handicap Hurdle over two miles five furlongs with £10,000 in the prize fund.

The main supporting race is a three mile handicap hurdle which is a qualifier for the Challenger Staying Hurdle Series Final. For more information on racing at Ayr or to book tickets go online at or call 01292 264179.

Issued by Iain Ferguson on behalf of Ayr Racecourse. 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.

Friday, 18 November 2016

Kilmarnock entrepreneur Marie Macklin named as Female Business Leader of the Year

Business and social entrepreneur Marie Macklin CBE has been named as BQ Female Business Leader of the Year for 2016 in the Scottish Business Awards.

Marie (pictured above) is owner and executive chair of Macklin Enterprise Partnership, a recently formed holding company building a diverse portfolio of entrepreneurial businesses and investment funds.

On receiving the prestigious award, Marie said: “I’m thrilled to have received this award. I’m passionate about helping to create and grow strong, international businesses from Scotland and helping to make this the most entrepreneurial society in the world.”

Marie seeks to invest in entrepreneurs and their businesses, directly through her own resources and investment funds. She seeks opportunities with organisations such as E-spark, Entrepreneurial Scotland, LINC Scotland, private and public investors and business angel organisations.

Behind Marie’s decision to create Macklin Enterprise Partnerships is her inherent passion for a strong Scottish economy. She uses her experience and knowledge to inspire and nurture talented young and aspirational people and fledgling businesses such as online booking specialist Appointedd, and fashion shopping app Mallzee, who value practical business advice and guidance. 

Macklin Enterprise Partnership invests through special-purpose funds created and managed with like-minded third parties. Marie takes the lead in identifying potential partners and providing start-up and management advice to selected entrepreneurs.

Wherever practical, she seeks to take a position of non-executive director of invested companies in order to ensure close engagement and scrutiny of business performance.

Wednesday, 16 November 2016

Chevron establish Centre of Excellence and create 82 jobs at Prestwick Airport

Scottish Cabinet Secretary for the Economy, Jobs and Fair Work Keith Brown today (Wednesday 16 November) announced Manchester-based Chevron Aircraft Maintenance Ltd is to establish a world-class centre of excellence for aircraft engineering, maintenance and training at Glasgow Prestwick Airport.

[Pictured: Councillor Bill McIntosh, Leader of South Ayrshire Council, joins the Minister and guests at the Chevron hangar at Prestwick Airport.] 

The £8.5 million investment will lead to the creation of up to 82 new jobs in Scotland, of which 67 are highly specialised and skilled positions. The company expect to increase turnover from £9.6m in 2016 to £19m by 2021. 

Today the Cabinet Secretary met the first newly recruited member of staff while given a tour of the Hangar 747 where Chevron is now located. Simon Yeardley a Project Engineer originally from Ayrshire has worked in England since 2012, but this job has allowed him to move back home and fulfil his career aspirations.

The Chevron announcement is the first major success for South Ayrshire Council's inward investment programme – Invest South Ayrshire. The Council has worked closely and innovatively with Chevron, from initial enquiry, highlighting the opportunities at Prestwick, and assisting the company to secure a solution tailored to their specific needs.

Supported by a Regional Selective Assistance grant of £2 million from Scottish Enterprise, the project, which will be operational early 2017, is being undertaken in response to increased customer and market demand. It will support Chevron to now deliver a variety of services that it is technically qualified to do but has previously had to borrow airline facilities to complete.

Glasgow Prestwick Airport provides a large, bespoke space for Chevron's increased line maintenance support operations that will include:

an EASA 145 approved Maintenance Repair and Overhaul (MRO) hangar facility
on-site engine, office and workshop facilities, as well as an EASA Part 147 approved Training School
a Freighter Conversion Programme for the BAE Systems Regional Aircraft
a state-of-the art and environmentally friendly Aircraft and Engine Recycling facility for aircraft decommissioning
finally, a commercial aircraft for Care & Maintenance programmes contributing to the training and further development of the Airport's talented workforce.

Economy Secretary Keith Brown said: "I am delighted to welcome the news that Chevron Aircraft Maintenance Limited will establish an aircraft engineering, maintenance and training regional centre of excellence at Glasgow Prestwick Airport.

"The company's investment, which is being supported by our economic development agency Scottish Enterprise, underlines their commitment to Scotland, and is great news for the local Ayrshire economy. This development will bring many new and highly skilled jobs to the Prestwick area.  I wish the team every success with the new venture and look forward to hearing of their achievements."

Chevron Aircraft Maintenance managing director Mr Neil Morris said: "This is a very important project to us, and we have greatly valued the support we have received from Scottish Enterprise in helping us achieve this investment. The airport is in an excellent location at the midway point of the Great Circle Route, making it a convenient stop off point for the many aircraft that have existing flight planning over the airport. The facility will enable the Chevron Group to handle a large range of aircraft, and we hope that we can offer additional benefits to Glasgow Prestwick's existing customer base across passenger, cargo, military, executive and general aviation including training through providing them with MRO and supporting services.

"Over the last 3 months we have worked closely with the airport team to promote the facility, beginning by exhibiting the new capability at last month's MRO Europe Amsterdam Conference – raising industry interest in the availability of MRO capability, resulting in with two aircraft operators contracting maintenance from January to April 2017."

Councillor Bill McIntosh, Leader of South Ayrshire Council said: "Our ability to meet Chevron's needs and present a robust and confident case for Prestwick as a suitable home for the company has well and truly paid dividends for everyone involved and boosts our reputation as the natural home of aerospace and space even further. It's also a prime example of what we can offer through our Invest South Ayrshire programme and I'm confident that Chevron is only the first of many companies that we will support to achieve a bigger and brighter future."

Scottish Development International managing director Paul Lewis said: "Today's investment is a fantastic boost to the aviation engineering industry in Scotland, which is an ideal location for Chevron's centre of excellence. Chevron will now join the many international investors who benefit from our competitive business environment, strong skills base and effective support network, which help make Scotland the top performing location for inward investment after London. We look forward to supporting Chevron's ambitious growth plans and wish them every success."

Glasgow Prestwick Airport is an ideal location for Chevron as it is already home to a cluster of key players in the aerospace industry including: GE Caledonian, Spirit Aerosystems, UTC Aerospace Systems (formerly Goodrich), BAE Systems, Ryanair and Woodward Aircraft Engineering Systems. At the Airport the company will have access to a pool of highly skilled and qualified personnel, along with an established programme of training support provided by local Universities and Further Education Colleges. 

Glasgow Prestwick Airport chief executive officer Ron Smith said: "The newly formed leadership team at the airport is delighted to welcome Chevron to Glasgow Prestwick Airport and the wider Prestwick Aerospace campus. This is the first major new business that this team has secured, and we see this as a building block on the way to delivering a profitable and sustainable airport for the long term.

"Chevron will bring in additional revenue for us through this lease but we also hope that this will provide us with an additional selling point for passenger and cargo airlines and other aviation customers including executive, military and general aviation to operate services to and from Glasgow Prestwick Airport.

"We will be working closely with Chevron to offer our support to help them build their business – their success will bring us success. This partnership working starts now with providing assistance to get the facility up and running in time to receive aircraft at the turn of the year. This assistance includes partnering with them to host a recruitment event this coming weekend in our main terminal building to help them fill these exciting new roles."

Chevron will be offering an "Employment Roadshow" for the 18 & 19 November at the Aviator Suite within Prestwick Terminal building where local people will be able to find out about what employment opportunities are on offer with more detail of the company.

Wednesday, 9 November 2016

Elite Ayrshire Business Circle congratulates Donald Trump

The Elite Ayrshire Business Circle has sent its congratulations to Donald Trump on his winning the election for President of the United States of America.

Elite Ayrshire Business Circle executive chairman Norman Geddes 9pictured above) said: “Trump Turnberry is one of our Founder Members, and has been a strong supporter of the Circle and its activities for many years.

“The Circle’s Annual Summer Luncheon at Trump Turnberry is now an important date in the Ayrshire business calendar, and one to which our members look forward every year.

“We have warmly welcomed the considerable investment made in Turnberry by the Trump Organisation, which has already resulted in widely welcomed improvements both to the Hotel and to the golf courses, and also the creation of many new local jobs.

“We can now look forward to the possibility of Open Golf returning to Turnberry in the not too distant future.

“It was an exciting night watching the election results unfold in America, and we in the Elite Ayrshire Business Circle would like to send our warmest congratulations to Mr Trump on his success.”

Friday, 4 November 2016

Buyer competition strengthens Ayrshire property market, reports CKD Galbraith

Scotland’s leading independent property consultancy CKD Galbraith is reporting healthy levels of buyer activity across Ayrshire, resulting in a steady increase in property sales.

Buyers from across Scotland have driven property sales throughout Ayrshire, resulting in a 17% increase during the third quarter of 2016 (July – September) compared to the previous quarter, according to the firm’s Ayr office.

Bob Cherry (pictured above), head of residential sales at CKD Galbraith’s Ayr office, said: “We are experiencing high levels of activity amongst Ayrshire residents who are choosing to either up-size or are relocating to more rural properties which offer excellent value for money. We have also witnessed an upsurge in interest from buyers outside the region, including buyers from Glasgow and Lanarkshire, who are attracted to the high calibre homes and value for money that the Ayrshire property market presents.

“The time taken by our team to sell properties during the third quarter has also decreased significantly. One particularly quick sale was Shield House (pictured above) by Cumnock, which sold within 19 days of appearing on the property market.

“Accurate and sensitive pricing remains vital to ensuring a property generates interest, and ultimately a number of competitive offers. Well-presented properties in the £300,000 - £400,000 bracket continue to produce the highest level of buyer activity, as well as rural properties with a few acres of land, which remain extremely popular throughout Ayrshire as a lifestyle choice.”

CKD Galbraith operates a network of regional offices located throughout the country, and figures for the firm as a whole during the third quarter of 2016 illustrates its ability to market and sell high quality houses drawing buyers from across the UK and beyond.

The firm has reported a 30% increase in the volume of sales achieved compared to the previous quarter of 2016. Local buyers from across Scotland accounted for 58% of sales during the third quarter, whilst 37% came from across the rest of the UK and 5% were international buyers.

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

Contact: R A Cherry BSc MRICS 
Tel: 01292 268181 
Fax: 01292 292300 

About CKD Galbraith

CKD Galbraith is an independent property consultancy employing 236 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, commercial, rural and renewable energy sectors throughout Scotland and northern England.

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

Thursday, 3 November 2016

Ayr Racecourse wins two awards in one week

By: Iain Ferguson

AYR Racecourse has won many awards over the years, but to gain two in the space of seven days is way above par for the course.

But that is what happened this week.

Firstly, Ayr was named as one the top six large racecourses in the country for owners and awarded the Racehorse Owners Association Gold Standard status for the second year in a row.

ROA representatives visited every track in Britain at least once to assess all aspects of the raceday experience for owners. In addition, feedback was provided by hundreds of ROA members following their racecourse visits.

The six large courses awarded Gold Standard were Ayr, Ascot, Chester, Haydock Park, Cheltenham and York.

Ayr Racecourse managing director David Brown said: “I am delighted that we have retained the ROA Gold Standard and remain one of only six large racecourses to be given the accolade.

“We strive to deliver the best experience possible for owners, and to receive recognition like this is very rewarding.”

Racecourses are divided into two categories – large and small – with their classification decided by a range of factors, including the quality of racing and attendance figures. The six tracks in each category that were considered to provide owners with the best raceday experience will hold the Award for the next 12 months.

One racecourse from each section will be named as their respective category’s ‘Racecourse of the Year’ at the annual ROA Horseracing Awards to be held in London on Thursday 1 December.

Top award for Ayr Racecourse chef de cuisine Paul

And also this week, Ayr Racecourse and Western House Hotel chef de cuisine Paul Cuthbert was named the 2016 Catering Personality of the Year at the National Racecourse Catering Awards.

Paul was unable to attend the event held earlier this month at Doncaster Racecourse and was presented with his award and a magnum of champagne by Ayr Racecourse managing director David Brown at the course on Saturday (pictured above).

A delighted Paul said: “This is not just for me but for the entire kitchen staff. It is a real team effort and I thrilled for us all to win this.”

Ayr Racecourse managing director David Brown added: “It is a great honour for Paul and the team at Ayr Racecourse and Western House Hotel that he has been recognised in this way.

“The National Racecourse Catering Awards are very prestigious within the industry and this is a great accolade.”

Paul has spent more than 34 years preparing sumptuous food and picking up award after award in doing so.

On leaving school he began working in various hotels in and around Ayrshire and has built up a reputation over the years as a chef who specialises in catering for large functions.

Over his many years in the catering industry Paul has won a plethora of awards include three Scot Hots, a Gold Medal at the Culinary Olympics in 2000 and National Chef of the Year Awards in 1994, 1996 and 1998.

He worked for many years for Celtic Football Club before joining Ayr Racecourse and Western House Hotel in 2009, as head chef, becoming chef de cuisine in 2014.

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, 27 October 2016

CKD Galbraith offers for sale delightful rural bungalow in South Ayrshire

Leading independent Scottish property consultancy CKD Galbraith is offering for sale Glenburn Cottage, a rural bungalow pleasantly situated about three miles outside the pretty village of Kirkmichael.  

The cottage was once a tearoom and shop selling fishing and shooting equipment, but was granted change of use to residential in 2005.  The property was built in 1985 and extended more recently adding a sun room.

Internally the cottage is modern and deceptively spacious with three good sized bedrooms all with fitted wardrobes and lovely views over the surrounding countryside.

The kitchen is modern and fitted with a range of oak wall and base units.  

The dining room lies adjacent to the kitchen and has polished oak floor.  A door leads through to the sun room which is bright and airy and is warmed by a log burning stove.  

A bathroom and shower room complete the accommodation.

The gardens of Glenburn Cottage extend to an acre and half with plenty of parking and a level lawn at the rear.  

There is a small pond which is regularly visited by wildlife, raised beds for home grown vegetables and a variety of fruit trees.  

The gardens are extensive enough to fence a section for grazing if required.

Offers Over £195,000 are being sought.

PDF available on

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

Contact: R A Cherry BSc MRICS 
Tel: 01292 268181 
Fax: 01292 292300 

About CKD Galbraith

CKD Galbraith is an independent property consultancy employing 225 staff in offices across Scotland - including Edinburgh, Stirling, Perthshire, 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, commercial, rural and renewable energy sectors throughout Scotland and northern England. The partnership also enjoys a successful relationship with its associate firm CKD Kennedy Macpherson.

To find out more about CKD Galbraith visit

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

Wednesday, 19 October 2016

Political uncertainty still hampering Scottish construction market

The Scottish construction sector is experiencing a slowdown in growth, as Brexit and referendum uncertainty continues to cause concern, according to the latest Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) Construction Market Survey,

A net balance of 3% more chartered surveyors reported that construction workloads in the UK had risen, rather than fallen this quarter, although slightly stronger than the balance of -2% posted last quarter, it is a significant slowdown on the trend growth over the previous three years.

Private housing saw the fastest rate of growth compared to other construction sectors, with 15% more chartered surveyors reporting workloads had risen rather than fallen.  Both the private commercial and infrastructure sectors in Scotland saw a drop in construction activity during Q3.

Across the UK, the Midlands remains the engine of growth in UK construction, with 30% more respondents reporting a rise in activity, while London and the South East have seen growth levels moderate significantly due largely to a slowdown in activity in the private commercial sector.

In the Scottish private industrials sector, 9% more contributors reported a rise rather than a fall in workloads, meanwhile, activity in the public housing sector remained flat.

Looking further ahead, respondents predict generally subdued growth for the Scottish construction sector over the year to come, with 7% more respondents forecasting a rise in workloads rather than a fall. On average, contributors expect activity to rise by 2.5% over the next twelve months across the UK as a whole.

Despite the slowdown in activity, expectations for employment growth in Scotland have improved with 21% more respondents forecasting a rise rather than a fall, up from 11% in Q2.

However, both workload and employment expectations are still lower than pre-Q2 levels and anecdotal evidence from respondents suggests that uncertainty relating of the UK’s future relationship with Europe is still causing them concern regarding their future workloads.

In Q3, financial constraints remain the most significant impediment to growth throughout the UK, anecdotally linked to uncertainty, with 69% of contributors reporting such constraints to be holding back growth. Planning and regulatory delays are the next most substantial factor with 55% of respondents citing problems in this area.

RICS chief economist Simon Rubinsohn commented: “The picture painted by the Q3 survey is one of subdued growth, and although expectations have improved following the immediate shock of the vote to leave the EU, anecdotal evidence from respondents suggests that much uncertainty still remains on the outlook for the year ahead”

Sunday, 16 October 2016

Elite Ayrshire Business Circle NEXT MEETING

The next (FREE) business breakfast networking meeting of the Elite Ayrshire Business Circle will take place at 8am on Friday 4 November at the University of the West of Scotland’s Ayr Campus.

In addition to providing another excellent opportunity to network with other leading business people, this meeting will feature a symposium surveying the political and economic landscape in Scotland post-Brexit and (possibly) prior to IndyRef2.

Speakers will include Gordon MacIntyre-Kemp, CEO of Business for Scotland, and Matt Frew and Alan Murray of the University of the West of Scotland.

Complimentary buffet breakfast refreshments will be served.

This is an Open Meeting, so as well as members and their guests, all interested business people from across Ayrshire who wish to attend will be made most welcome.

To book your places, please RSVP to or TEXT 07833 667322.

The Elite Ayrshire Business Circle
Norman Geddes (Executive Chairman)
Murdoch MacDonald (Managing).

Thursday, 13 October 2016

Deputy First Minister John Swinney unveils foundation stone at William McIlvanney Campus

John Swinney MSP, Deputy First Minister for Scotland and Cabinet Secretary for Education and Skills yesterday (Wednesday 12 October 2016) unveiled the foundation stone at the £45 million William McIlvanney Campus in Kilmarnock.

Due for completion in 2018 and named in honour of the world-renowned author who was born and educated in the town, the Campus is being provided by East Ayrshire Council, through the Scottish Government’s Scotland’s Schools for the Future programme.

This will be delivered through the Scottish Futures Trust’s hub programme by Hub South West, with construction work being undertaken by Kier Construction.

The William McIlvanney Campus will host the new James Hamilton Primary School and Early Childhood Centre, with Kilmarnock Academy and James Hamilton Academy also transferring and merging to form a new Kilmarnock Academy.

A third new school, Sgoil na Coille Nuaidhe, offering Gaelic language provision will replace the Gaelic Medium Education provision currently offered at Onthank Primary School and Grange Academy.

Welcoming Mr Swinney, Councillor Douglas Reid, Leader of East Ayrshire Council said: “I’m delighted that John Swinney has joined us to share in this important milestone, and I know he shares my view that this is a significant and ambitious investment for the young people and communities of Kilmarnock.

“Willie McIlvanney was passionate about the provision of good education for young people and the unveiling of the foundation stone marks another positive chapter in the development of this exciting story for Kilmarnock.

“It will give our young people the best possible start in life ensuring they have access to the first-class learning environments needed to succeed in school, work and in life and will be a long-lasting and fitting tribute to the man.”

Mr Swinney said: “I would like to thank East Ayrshire Council for inviting me to help mark the start of the process which will result in a fantastic school campus that the whole community can be proud of.

“I am delighted that the Scottish Government has provided £24.5 million to this innovative project and I am particularly pleased to be able to unveil the foundation stone for the campus named in honour of one of Scotland’s great writers, William McIlvanney.

“It is extremely fitting that this state-of-the-art educational accommodation will be named after a man who started his professional life as a teacher and remained a dedicated and passionate supporter for the quality education of all our young people throughout the remainder of his life.”

Michael McBrearty, chief executive of development partner Hub South West Scotland added: “Hub South West are delighted to be a part of this exciting and innovative new campus that will substantially improve the provision of education and community facilities across East Ayrshire.

“Today’s event marks yet another milestone in this flagship development, as well as another significant achievement regarding the ongoing collaboration between Hub South West, Kier Construction and East Ayrshire Council.

“As work continues on the new William McIlvanney Campus, there is no question that this project will be of great benefit to the people of Kilmarnock and the surrounding area, and we are committed to delivering a first-class facility that will have a long lasting impression on the town.”

Managing director of Kier Construction’s Scotland and & north-east England business, Brian McQuade said: “Kier is a UK leader across education and we’re delighted to work with Hub South West Scotland on behalf of East Ayrshire Council to build this leading education facility which will benefit future generations for years to come.

“Around 200 people will work at the William McIlvanney campus site during peak times and we’re committed to using local suppliers and subcontractors to provide a diverse range of training, apprenticeship and employment opportunities and to stimulate the Ayrshire economy throughout the construction process.”

Members of William McIlvanney’s family, including his partner Siobhan Lynch witnessed the unveiled of the foundation stone, with MPs, MSPs, local elected members and a range of invited guests.

Work on the Campus is scheduled for completion early in 2018.

Wednesday, 12 October 2016

House price growth remains firm in Scotland although demand weakens

House price growth in Scotland remained firm in September, despite negative readings from key indicators covering demand, agreed sales and new instructions, according to the latest RICS UK Residential Market Survey. 

Scottish house price growth remained in positive territory, with 33% more respondents reporting a rise rather than fall last month. Near term price expectations across Scotland were also steady, with 14% more chartered surveyors predicting a growth in prices over the next three months. Elsewhere in the UK, there remains a greater level of caution in central London where prices are expected to continue to edge lower, albeit only modestly, over the same period. Anecdotal evidence suggests that uncertainty following the EU vote along with Stamp Duty changes, are both continuing to adversely impact the top end of the market in particular.

The lack of choice for would-be purchasers also appears to be restricting overall sales activity, with newly agreed sales dropping slightly during September. The regional picture remains mixed however, and going forward, respondents’ optimism towards the sales outlook in Scotland improved, with growth expected over the next three months. Further out, over the next twelve months, contributors throughout the UK are projecting sales to pick up firmly in all areas.

Thomas Baird MRICS, Select Surveyors, Glasgow, commented: “There was a slow-down in Home Report instructions for September, which is indicative of the lack of housing stock coming on to the market.”

Interest from new buyers in Scotland also fell over the month, with 16% more respondents reporting a decrease in enquiries (rather than an increase). On a national level the latest results show considerable variation in demand across the UK, with some respondents seeing a recovery while others report a more stable trend.

RICS chief economist Simon Rubinsohn commented: "The UK market does now appear to be settling down following the significant headwinds encountered through the spring and summer. Buyers do appear to be returning, albeit relatively slowly, but the big issue that continues to be highlighted by respondents is the lack of fresh stock on the market, which has been evident in Scotland over the last year. Although this is not a new story, it is a significant one having ramifications for both prices and the level of turnover.”

Tuesday, 11 October 2016

Ayr Racecourse shortlisted for Thistle Award

By: Iain Ferguson

AYR Racecourse has been shortlisted in Scottish Tourism’s most prestige awards ceremony.

The Racecourse is in the final three in the Best Sporting Event Category for the 2016 Scottish Thistle Awards for the Coral Scottish Grand National. 

The other two events shortlisted are the 2015 World Gymnastics Championships held at the Hydro in Glasgow and the British Swimming IPC Swimming World Championships which took place at Tollcross, Glasgow.

For more than 20 years the Scottish Thistle Awards have been recognised as the Oscars of the tourism industry in Scotland.

This is the first time the Coral Scottish Grand National, Scotland’s richest and most prestigious jumps race has been shortlisted for the Best Sporting Event at the Thistle Awards which will be held in Glasgow’s Grand Central Hotel on Thursday November 24.

Ayr Racecourse managing director David Brown said: “This is a great honour for the Racecourse, and underlines the standing of the Coral Scottish Grand National, which for the last two years has been a sell-out.

“It truly is one of Scotland’s iconic sporting events, and the team at the Rcaecourse are delighted to have been shortlisted for a Thistle Award.”

For further information please contact Iain Ferguson on 01292 294972 or 07795 56569

Ayr Racecourse and the associated Western House Hotel are Founder Members of the Elite Ayrshire Business Circle.

£5m investment in leading aerospace company’s Prestwick site

One of the world’s leading aerostructure suppliers to both Airbus and Boeing has invested £5m at their site in Prestwick.

Spirit AeroSystems’s new paint and finishing centre was yesterday (Monday 10 October 2016) officially opened by Cabinet Secretary for Economy, Jobs and Fair Work, Keith Brown.

Supported by a Scottish Enterprise Regional Selective Assistance grant of £450,000, the investment will also safeguard 75 jobs. The company has also recently been awarded a £1m Scottish Enterprise Training Aid grant which supports the creation of 16 new jobs and safeguards 52.

Spirit AeroSystems designs and builds large aerostructures, including fuselages, pylons, nacelles and wing components, for both commercial and defence programs. From its facilities at Prestwick, its operation is known as Spirit AeroSystems (Europe) Limited. Spirit Europe is one of the largest airframe suppliers to Airbus and is a key supplier of major wing structures. Spirit Europe also produces wing structures for Boeing programs.

Cabinet Secretary for Economy, Jobs and Fair Work, Keith Brown said: “Aerospace is one of our highest value sectors, playing a vital role in Scotland’s economy. That is why I am delighted to welcome Spirit’s latest £5m investment in the facility, underlining the achievements of the team and showing real commitment to developing the workforce and operations in Prestwick. I am sure this will see the company continue to go from strength to strength, increasing efficiency and competitiveness and opening up new markets. I wish the Spirit team every success moving forward.”

Scott McLarty, VP UK and Malaysia commented: “This new finishing centre allows us to better meet the needs of our customers as production rates increase for single aisle aircraft. We are grateful for the investment by Scottish Enterprise and their partnership with us. This finishing centre improves our competitiveness as a world-class manufacturer and presents us with new opportunities to continually improve the quality products we deliver for our customers.”

Adrian Gillespie, Managing Director of Growth Companies, Innovation and Infrastructure at Scottish Enterprise said: “We are delighted to support Spirit AeroSystems in the development of this new finishing centre. This significantly enhances capability at the site and demonstrates their continued commitment to developing their operations here in Scotland.”

Monday, 10 October 2016

Ayrshire Growth Deal moves ahead as all three councils approve plans

Ambitious business proposals to transform Ayrshire’s economic prospects are to be submitted to the UK and Scottish Governments following a landmark agreement. All three Ayrshire Councils have now approved moves to target more than £350 million through the Ayrshire Growth Deal (AGD), after a decision at South Ayrshire Council to rubber stamp the plans.

The Strategic Business Case, recently approved by North and East Ayrshire Councils, was agreed at a meeting of South Ayrshire Council on Thursday 6 October. Councillors also agreed to provide £70,000 from reserves to help support work on the project until the end of September 2017.

[Pictured: Glasgow Prestwick Spaceport is just one of the growth 
areas being looked at as part of the Ayrshire Growth Deal.]

The AGD aims to develop and build on the success of the area’s key industries, including: aerospace and space, life sciences, and manufacturing. With more than 50% of Scotland’s aerospace employees based at Prestwick, and with Glasgow Prestwick Airport’s work to become the UK’s first licensed spaceport, South Ayrshire is in a strong position to capitalise on the economic opportunities these high value, high growth sectors present.

The AGD will also seek to enhance Ayrshire’s coast and capitalise on the opportunities that Ayrshire’s harbours and ports provide. Proposed projects will make a major contribution to the delivery of national tourism strategies such as ‘Awakening the Giant’ (marine tourism) as well as providing opportunities to address issues such as the provision of land for the development of new housing.

Councillor Bill McIntosh, Leader of South Ayrshire Council said, “All three Councils stand to reap the rewards of the Ayrshire Growth Deal, and we’re now well placed to take this project forward as we work to realise future growth and create new jobs.

“One of our major focal points is the aerospace and space sectors in Prestwick, which is already home to one of the UK’s leading aerospace clusters, and which could soon become Britain’s first operational spaceport.

“By pooling our resources and taking a partnership approach we stand the best chance of delivering benefits to all parts of Ayrshire as well as to the broader national economy, something that will allow local businesses to stand toe-to-toe with international competition.”

Councillor Douglas Reid, Leader of East Ayrshire Council said: "This is a significant milestone for the Ayrshire Growth Deal. The proposals for East Ayrshire will provide the infrastructure that will serve the manufacturing and engineering sectors across Ayrshire and the regeneration projects will help to create over 1000 jobs, which will greatly boost the local economy and benefit our local communities.

“The A77 is a key investment corridor for Ayrshire and the improvement of the Bellfield Interchange is critical to the development of this corridor in order to realise the potential for jobs and manufacturing growth. It will create a regionally significant Ayrshire Manufacturing development. The Ayrshire Engineering Park at Moorfield will create serviced high quality business space.

“The Halo is an innovative development that will revitalise Kilmarnock and benefit Ayrshire and the West of Scotland. It will create space for enterprise, innovation and entrepreneurs as well as commercial offices to attract new employers to the town. It will complement and add value to the new Ayrshire College.

“A fundamental principle of the proposals is to ensure inclusive growth so that all communities benefit. There will be initiatives to support start up, innovation and employment opportunities in Ayrshire's town and villages and programmes to ensure our communities will have the skills to participate in the increased job opportunities that a growing economy will bring.

“Taken together the package of proposals will realise the vision for Ayrshire to be a vibrant, outward looking, confident region that will attract investors and visitors and produce an impact across Scotland."

Councillor Joe Cullinane, Leader of North Ayrshire, said: "It is fantastic that we have reached this stage, and we're excited about the proposals we are putting forward and what it would mean for Ayrshire. We have worked hard to identify projects that will benefit not only our local economies but also the wider Scottish one too.

"Inclusive growth is key to these proposals and we firmly believe that the Ayrshire Growth Deal will deliver economic growth that will enrich all our communities.

"We have consulted extensively with partner organisations and the local business community to identify what the constraints to the Ayrshire economy are and where there is untapped potential for economic growth given the right support being available.

"We feel these proposals are ambitious and would make a huge difference to the Ayrshire economy. We look forward to getting further feedback from the UK and Scottish Governments as we look to submit our final proposals."

Now that all three Ayrshire Councils have agreed the Strategic Business Case the document can be submitted to the UK and Scottish Governments for consideration. If approved, the AGD could be implemented from mid-2017.

The Strategic Business Case can be found HERE.

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

Monday, 3 October 2016

CKD Galbraith builds on success and appoints Pam Over as new CEO

CKD Galbraith, Scotland’s leading independent property consultancy, today announced the appointment of Pam Over as chief executive officer.

The firm also announced a significant rise in annual revenue and profit as the business continues to build on its success in the commercial, energy, residential and rural property sectors.

[Pictured: Iain Russell (right), chairman of CKD Galbraith, with Tim Kirkwood {left}, who has led the firm as chief executive for more than 20 years, and Pam Over (centre), currently chief operating officer and now newly appointed CEO as from January 2017.]

Mrs Over is currently chief operating officer and leads the commercial property division.

From January 2017 she will succeed Tim Kirkwood, who has led the firm as chief executive for more than 20 years. Tim will remain a partner with the firm and will focus on his portfolio of clients in the rural sector.

In the year to 1st April 2016, the firm’s revenues grew by 5.4% to just under £12m and profit to just under £3M. The firm employs 236 staff in 11 offices across Scotland.

Iain Russell, chairman of CKD Galbraith, said: “We are delighted to report our continued success as a multi-disciplinary, market-leading property firm.  We have doubled our farm and estates agency income over the last year and have seen strong growth in the commercial division where only in the last few weeks we have completed significant international property investments in Edinburgh.

“We are delighted with Pam’s appointment as CEO. Her depth and breadth of career experience and commercial overview will provide energy and good judgement to the future development of our business. Tim has carried out the role of CEO for this firm, and its predecessors, for 24 years.  Over that period the business has been developed from a modest Highland-based land agency practice to the national firm it is today.  

“Tim has produced opportunity, employment, expansion and profit, all delivered with endless patience, good humour, deep intelligence, and a unique blend of wisdom and creativity. He elected last year to hand on the office of CEO in 2016, in order to provide continuity of business management and to allow a successor to build a new and broad-based executive team to take the firm forward. We are wholly committed to further growth and continuing to outshine competition within Scotland, while also undertaking commissions from London to Belfast.”

Pam Over said: “I am absolutely delighted that the partners in the firm have given their support to my appointment and I have an extremely hard act to follow. Tim has – more than anyone else - been instrumental in the development and growth of the firm and is handing over the reins of an extraordinarily successful business. I am looking forward to the challenge of picking up the baton and continuing our growth.”

Tim Kirkwood said: “I have been very fortunate and privileged to hold the office of CEO for so many years in which the firm has become established as a successful national company. This is testament to the quality of personal service offered by staff across our offices. I remain committed to the firm and believe that the time is right for us to plan for the future. I look forward to working closely with Pam who has outstanding business acumen and the skill to lead the firm into its next phase.” 

About CKD Galbraith

CKD Galbraith is an independent property consultancy employing 236 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, commercial, rural and renewable energy sectors throughout Scotland and northern England.

To find out more about CKD Galbraith visit 

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