The Elite Ayrshire Business Circle

The Elite Ayrshire Business Circle

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.