The Elite Ayrshire Business Circle

The Elite Ayrshire Business Circle

Friday, 15 January 2016

Site start imminent for Girvan and South Carrick leisure and community facility

The new year has got off to a flying start for communities across Girvan and South Carrick with the news that work on the new leisure and community facility at Girvan Harbour will get underway later this month.

The confirmation of the site start comes as the project to build the new facility, which will cost a total of £6 million (including all furniture and equipment), reached its formal ‘financial close’ – the final piece in the jigsaw before construction can start.

The new building, which will be operated by South Carrick Community Leisure (SCCL) through a service level agreement, will transform leisure and community facilities across the area. It will be home to a 25 metre swimming pool, soft play area, superb fitness gym, flexible multi-purpose studio/community space, changing facilities and café.

To achieve financial close and allow the works to get underway, South Ayrshire Council has committed a further £350,000 capital funding for the project, taking its total capital contribution to £4.35 million – more than 72% of the overall costs.

In addition, the Council is investing £200,000 revenue funding every year to support the running of the facility – this will total £8 million over the duration of the 40-year lease which is proposed with SCCL.

The remaining monies have come from a number of funding partners, including: sportscotland (£400,000), Scottish Government Regeneration Capital Grant Fund (£250,000), Carrick Futures (£250,000), Girvan Regeneration Fund (£157,000), Hadyard Hill Community Benefit Fund (£100,000), Scottish Power Renewables Kilgallioch Wind Farm (£100,000) and the William Grant Foundation (£50,000).

Councillor Bill McIntosh, Leader of South Ayrshire Council, said: "The new leisure and community facility will be the first of its kind built by this Council in almost 20 years and I couldn’t be more proud that it will be making a huge difference for people and communities in Girvan and South Carrick.

“The fact that we know work will start very soon, with the new facility scheduled to open in spring 2017, is testament to the efforts of the Council and South Carrick Community Leisure in coming together to deliver something real, practical and – crucially – sustainable for local residents and visitors alike.

“Our aim was always to do things in the right way and, in partnership with SCCL and the terrific community input it offered, that’s exactly what we’re doing. There’s a new era about to get underway in Girvan and South Carrick and it starts now – I hope every person, in every community, is ready to play their part in ensuring its success.”

Andrew Sinclair, Chair of SCCL, added: "I’m sure like many people, there have been times when I wondered if we would ever reach this point and it’s thanks to the tenacity of SCCL and the people of Girvan and South Carrick, with the support of the Council, that we’re now on the cusp of one of the most exciting projects this area has ever seen.

“This building is about much more than a swimming pool – or a gym, or a soft play area for that matter. It’s about investment in a community, belief in a community and making a difference for a community, and that is simply priceless.

“However, as a community, we all have a job to do to pay back on that investment and belief. In just over a year, we’ll have a new facility that will need regular paying customers and a growing membership – and that means you. As a community, it’s up to us to make sure this new facility is a success and is here to stay, and that work starts now.”

Michael McBrearty, Chief Executive, hub South West Scotland, said: “We have once again enjoyed a positive working relationship with South Ayrshire Council to develop and deliver a facility which will deliver real community benefit both through its delivery and into its operation.

“This completion marks the sixth project we have closed with the Council and our second in 2016.  We are proud to have been part of a project which has the community at its heart and congratulate SCCL and the people of Carrick on reaching this important milestone.

“The project further demonstrates hub’s ability to deliver a range of projects and deliver meaningful benefits to the wider community.”

Morrison Construction Ltd has been appointed as the design and build contractor for the project through hub South West, which was set up by the Scottish Futures Trust to deliver major public sector building projects.

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

Wednesday, 13 January 2016

CKD Galbraith urge buy-to-let 3% levy needs clarifying urgently

Leading independent Scottish property consultancy CKD Galbraith is urging further details on the buy-to-let 3% levy to be made public as the introduction of the additional rates on top of LBTT in Scotland races ever closer and confusion continues.

Towards the end of last year John Swinney announced as part of the Scottish budget that second homes would face an additional 3% levy on top of the Land and Buildings Transaction Tax, commencing from April 2016. Despite the introduction of the new tax being just months away there remains much confusion amongst landlords as well as buyers and vendors generally.

The intention of the levy is to charge a higher rate on each band of LBTT if at the end of the day of the transaction an individual owns two or more residential properties. However, the higher rate will not be charged if the purchaser is replacing their main residences. The Scottish Government are keen to ensure that there are sufficient affordable opportunities for first-time buyers to enter the property market but the surcharge is a blow to landlords who have also recently suffered the loss of the buy-to-let tax relief.

George Lorimer, partner at CKD Galbraith (pictured above) said: “The looming new levy will undoubtedly lead to a rush of buy-to-let purchasers looking to beat the April deadline, then to an anticipated drop in sale prices post April with sellers likely to be the ones bearing the lion’s share of the additional costs of the levy.

“However, given the complete lack of real detail currently available about the new tax, those who do rush to buy or sell property before April are doing so without knowing exactly what the new rules will be. There are many anomalies requiring clarity but the silence from the Scottish Government has been deafening and there is little time left to debate the details of the new tax.

“Specific questions need to be answered on issues such as property owned by married couples and civil partners, second homes outside of the UK and also the logistics of joint purchases, just to name a few. Whilst as a firm we are well placed to advise our clients and those thinking of selling or buying before April, more information is urgently required to allow for informed decisions.”

The surcharge is also expected to impact tenants as rents increases to cover costs or less well-off landlords decide to sell rental property.

Bob Cherry, partner at CKD Galbraith (pictured above) added: “This new levy will have implications for current landlords looking to sell as well as act as yet another deterrent to would be landlords thinking about the market as an investment opportunity.

“This measure, like the LBTT rises introduced earlier this year, is also a wealth tax on owners as buyers of buy to lets will seek to pass on the extra purchase costs by reducing the price they are prepared to pay.

“Landlords’ options have narrowed, however those with a property portfolio might now consider swapping to a limited company structure and paying corporation tax instead. Speaking to an experienced adviser is essential, there is much uncertainty and the new rules are complex.”

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 in London, CKD Kennedy Macpherson.

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

Tuesday, 12 January 2016

Federal BBC a ‘win-win’ for viewers

Call for BBC Scotland to be empowered to 
better reflect needs of audiences

A federal BBC that gives full commissioning and decision-making powers to BBC Scotland, would be a ‘win-win’ for viewers in Scotland and across the UK, Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop (pictured below) said today.

Speaking ahead of the Scottish Parliament Education and Culture Committee, at which the Cabinet Secretary and the Director General of the BBC Lord Tony Hall will give evidence on the current BBC Charter renewal process today, Ms Hyslop said: “It’s time for BBC Scotland to be empowered and resourced to be bold and creative for Scotland.

“A federal structure would empower the BBC to better reflect the needs of the nations and regions it serves, giving BBC Scotland full control over decision making in terms of how revenue raised here is spent.

“Full control over commissioning and editorial decisions would have an enormously positive impact. It would enable BBC Scotland to take a long-term, strategic approach to delivering sustainable, high quality programming that benefits audiences, the global market and the creative sector. This would be a win-win for viewers both in Scotland and across the rest of the UK.

“I am keen to work with the BBC to achieve this both within and outwith the Charter Renewal process, because there is much that the BBC can do outside of Charter Renewal to improve its service to the people of Scotland.

“We have worked hard with stakeholders from across Scotland to understand the issues and to develop a position that we believe has strong support.

“This is about ensuring the BBC’s long-term future in a way that benefits both the BBC and Scotland. The future BBC must think about Scotland in a different way if it is to meet the needs of the UK’s nations and regions to ensure that public service broadcasting remains a vital part of our social, democratic, cultural and economic life.”

Ms Hyslop was due to answer questions and present the Scottish Government’s views on BBC Charter renewal during the second panel of the evidence session, which took place today.

Ms Hyslop set out her proposals for a new federal structure for the BBC at a stakeholder event in September. Her speech is available CLICK HERE  

Action resumes at Ayr Racecourse

By: Iain Ferguson

AYR Racecourse stages the Dawn Homes Monkton Raceday featuring a six-race card on Tuesday 19 January. 

The action is due to commence at 1.20pm with the Cotter’s Edge Mares  Maiden Hurdle over three miles followed by the Annick Gardens National Hunt Maiden Hurdle over two miles four furlongs. 

There are two feature chases – the Villafield Novices’ Handicap Chase over two miles four furlongs and the Burngreen Brae Handicap Chase over just under two miles. 

The meeting closes at 4.10pm with the Dawn Homes Assured Move Handicap Hurdle over the two mile trip. 

For more details on racing at Ayr or to book tickets go online at or call 01292 264179. 

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, 11 January 2016

CKD Galbraith’s farm sales forecast for 2016

CKD Galbraith, Scotland’s leading rural consultancy, announced today that firm’s farm sales for 2015 showed significant growth over the previous year but that the firm expects to see more considered pricing in the general farmland market in the year ahead.

Farm sales figures for 2015 reveal that CKD Galbraith sold in excess of £60.5million worth of agricultural property throughout the year, totalling some 16,980 acres. This is an impressive 30% increase in acreage sold compared to 2014 and a rise of 13.5% in sales value. The firm also sold 57,092 acres of Scottish estates in 2015 with a sales value of just over £30.7million.

Duncan Barrie, senior associate at CKD Galbraith (pictured above) commented: “Looking back at 2015 the commercial farm market in Scotland remained remarkably strong despite poor cereal, potato and milk prices and confusion and uncertainty about recent CAP reforms.

“However, more marginal arable and livestock units proved to be slightly more difficult to sell, largely due to recent fluctuations in commodity and livestock prices, which created difficulties for farmers trying to obtain finance.”

Moving into 2016 buyers and sellers of commercial farms are cautious of the downturn in commodity prices therefore the firm are advising that realistic pricing will be key to successful selling this year.

CKD Galbraith partner Simon Brown (pictured above) said: “The main factors influencing the farmland market this year are sensitive pricing and the quality of the land. A good, well equipped arable farm in a desirable location will always sell and we expect the demand to remain strong from both farmers and investors.

“Investors are rarely put off by low commodity prices and the dips we have witnessed in 2015 are unlikely to affect agricultural property prices to any large extent. However, the price gap between the different regions of Scotland will result in the market becoming increasingly polarized. CKD Galbraith’s localized teams of staff are extremely well placed therefore when it comes to accurate regional pricing.”

Duncan added: “While the commercial farmland market has been very buoyant during the recession, the countercyclical nature of the industry has started to show signs of decline in the demand for all but the very best arable farms, as well as upland farms that can be planted for commercial timber.

“We do not expect to see a dramatic fall in prices, but farms brought to the market at asking prices that are ambitious will generally fail to find buyers, which is a predicament not faced by the land market for a number of years.”

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 in London, CKD Kennedy Macpherson.

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

Sunday, 10 January 2016

New Ayr Academy Learning Campus gets green light

Contracts have been signed and formal financial close reached on the project to build a new £25 million Ayr Academy Learning Campus at Craigie Estate – meaning construction work will get underway later this month.

The new campus – funded by South Ayrshire Council through the Scottish Government's Scotland’s Schools for the Future programme, managed by the Scottish Futures Trust (SFT) – is set to open in August 2017.

It will transform learning and teaching facilities for young people and staff, and provide enhanced sports facilities and outdoor spaces that can be enjoyed by the school and local community alike.

The school, which will have capacity for up to 1,000 pupils, will feature two unique ‘learning plazas’ – open spaces that can be used to bring together multiple classes for collaborative learning and discussions.

The sports and community facilities include an all-weather pitch, grass pitch, multi-use hall, two gyms and a dance studio.

The project will be delivered by hub South West, which was set up in conjunction with SFT and other partner organisations to deliver major public sector building projects. Construction works will be undertaken by Kier Construction.

Councillor Margaret Toner, South Ayrshire Council’s Portfolio Holder for Lifelong Learning, said: “This is a milestone moment for the new Ayr Academy Learning Campus and heralds the start of this exciting construction project.

“While we will only now start to see sustained activity on the new school site, there’s been a huge amount of work to get us to this point, and I want to thank everyone who has played their part over the last six years in getting us to where we are today.

“The new campus will ensure our young people can enjoy excellent learning and teaching in a modern and purpose-built environment that will deliver real and tangible benefits for years to come – that’s something we’re really passionate about as a Council. Thanks to its great location, it will also support partnership working between the school, Ayrshire College and the University of the West of Scotland, which will also offer exciting opportunities.

“I have no doubt the new Ayr Academy Learning Campus will make a massive difference for young people, staff, parents and families, and everyone in our wider community. And with fantastic facilities that will be available to the local community too, it’s a win-win for everybody. I’m looking forward to work starting on site later this month.” 

Deputy First Minister John Swinney said: “This is an important milestone for Ayr Academy, and I am pleased that construction for this new state-of-the-art facility will now begin by the end of this month.

“This school is the first of 12 school and health centre projects now being progressed across Scotland through the hub finance model following the Office for National Statistics (ONS) ruling that changes to the hub model adhere to updated EU accounting guidelines. 

“These developments will make an enormous difference in local communities, not just in the jobs that the construction will bring, but in the health and education benefits they will provide to local people.”

David MacDonald, hub Programme Director at SFT, explained: “The hub programme is an innovative approach to develop and deliver best-value community facilities which provides public bodies with a quick, efficient and value for money way of getting their projects into construction and helps secure and sustain local employment.  

“I very much look forward to seeing construction start on Ayr Academy very shortly and to seeing pupils being taught in modern, first-class facilities.”

Michael McBrearty, Chief Executive of delivery partner hub South West added: “This milestone has taken months of planning between all collaborators involved in this fantastic project, but with formalities now complete, we will soon be able to see the new school taking shape.

“There is no question that this development will be of great benefit to Ayr and the surrounding area, and we are committed to delivering a first-class community facility that will have a long lasting impression on the town.

“We look forward to continue to work with South Ayrshire Council, Kier Construction, SFT and our other collaborators to deliver a school that pupils can be proud of.”

The Ayr Academy Learning Campus will be constructed on a Design, Build, Finance and Maintain (DBFM) basis. This takes account of both the construction of the new school and facilities, as well as a 25-year maintenance contract, which has been awarded to FES Ltd for maintenance of the building fabric, external and built internal environment. All other facilities management, including cleaning, catering and janitorial services will remain with South Ayrshire Council.

The Council will fund the revenue cost of the facilities management contract as well as lifecycle operation costs – for example, the replacement of boilers, windows, roofs etc.

The DBFM model for the Ayr Academy project – as well as 11 other projects across Scotland being constructed on the same basis – was revised by the Scottish Futures Trust to take account of ESA10 (European System of Accounts 2010), which determine how national governments report overall levels of debt in the national accounts.

Ayr Academy is the first of these projects to reach financial close since the Deputy First Minister confirmed the revised model and advised the projects could proceed on 26 November 2015.

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