Future of Ayr’s Station Hotel – 5 February 2019

Depute leader of South Ayrshire Council, Brian McGinley was the guest speaker at the club last week. He came along to describe the recent progress of the works on the ‘B’-listed Ayr Station Hotel and to explain the options open to the Council as regards possible future outcomes for the building.

Beginning with the historical context, Councillor McGinley outlined the sequence of events leading up to the present situation. The hotel was closed in 2012 and the building, which is mainly owned by a Malaysian business man and partly by Network Rail, was declared “dangerous” by the council in 2013. This resulted in the imposition of an exclusion zone around the building in the interest of public safety. Since then, substantial scaffolding works have been erected to secure the stability of the structure and to further enhance safety to permit access for a full structural survey to be conducted. Earlier survey work was prevented by the condition of the building including flooded basements and collapsed ceilings. The temporary securing works were agreed by a National Working Group, headed by Transport Scotland and including South Ayrshire Council and Network Rail. A full report on the structural condition of the building is expected to be delivered around mid-March.

With regard to the future of the hotel building, Councillor McGinley emphasised that, since SAC do not own the building, current options, beyond ensuring public safety, are limited. Meaningful discussion within the National Working Group of the options for the future of the building cannot take place until the structural survey report is available. Responding to questions from the audience Councillor McGinley stated that although SAC currently had no plans to procure the building for public usage, compulsory purchase, private sale, and demolition were all possibilities at this stage. He also confirmed that notices served on the hotel owner had so far been ignored but that the necessary legal processes had now been implemented and there were encouraging signs that these were having some effect.

Jimmy Begg thanked Councillor McGinley for shedding some light on the status of the Station Hotel but wondered if something could not have been done sooner to prevent the deterioration of the building.