Ayr Proposed Leisure Centre, Pre Planning Application Online Consultation and Presentation by the consultants and relevant Officers of SAC
Subject: The experiences of one lonely Ayr Resident at today's online Leisure Centre pre planning application consultation 21st Oct 21
All, For your interest and my comments are made based purely on my experience and my interpretation of the actions of the council irrespective of whatever their politics are.
The consultation ran from 4pm to 7pm online on zoom. Yet another example of how this council denied the rights of its citizens access to online meetings during Covid for 17 months when clearly it could have run from day one with ease without the numerous excuses given and all documented. This Zoom meeting was not a problem as many of us already know who have used it or any other off the shelf platforms.
I logged on at around 5pm and logged out around 6.10pm. I think I only missed the introductions which was to go through the submitted slides with some explanations as written already in the text on the slides. Their intention when I left was for them to repeat the intro again for any newbie’s online probably leaving time for a few more questions to 7pm many of which presumably would be repeats.
The format wasn’t bad and the representatives from the project and council officials answered all my numerous questions. I was in the main not satisfied with the answers which obviously had many elements of spin, and unsubstantiated claims although presented well. We can expect that from a company whose paymaster is the client, our Council. Spin washes with some but quite frankly they did do their best to convince me and I had some sympathy at the attempts but it was still just spin all the same. It’s not the fault of the company charged with this project and this consultation although whoever was responsible for the ice cream questions in consultations 1 and 2 which created answers that would obviously suit our Councils agenda above all else and be not realistic as to the reality of situations that users would be confronted with. There appears to date that hell on earth would not have changed that even with legitimate questions at the previous consultations by the subsequent actions of our council to date.
I had better explain what I mean by example. The council asks, ‘Would you use the Leisure Centre more often if it were in the Town Centre?’ strongly agree, agree, don’t know, disagree, strongly disagree. An ice cream question. Most by nature don’t like to disagree, they feel they have to answer, don’t know seems that their decision making capability is being questioned so will choose Agree, the safe option. So ultimately there were in fact only two options and that is borne out by those being the two most popular.
Had the same question been, ‘Would you use the Leisure Centre more often if it were in the town centre and you had to pay parking charges, be lucky to find a space on site in the 65 available spaces left after staff parking or walk 5 to 15 minutes from a nearby car park when its dark raining and cold or park in the multi storey especially when its dark and vandals might be lurking?’ strongly agree, agree, don’t know, disagree, strongly disagree. What do you think? Closer to the reality maybe which is being spun out of the narrative fed us at the moment.
I asked. Question. A petition to keep the Citadel has reached 3,100 signatories far and above those that might have indicated they would prefer a new pool in the High Street and before it was known there would not be a sports hall or diving pool and should the petition now be taken note of. The answer I’m afraid is basically, ‘TOUGH’, my interpretation from the assistant director place’s response who appeared to me to be a touch off boiling point at my observation in my question. Answer. We’ve been through 2 consultations and now this pre planning consultation so above all else we must continue even over the cliff edge if need be despite any objections. Can’t get Zulu out my mind now, not even a bullet can stop us or was it ’Superman’. I suppose we must understand that these chappies spend all day only talking amongst themselves continually convincing each other that they are doing a good job and expecting the populace to rejoice at their brilliance as the bank balance dwindles in the interim. Always remember they are here to serve us and not the other way round and in this case it seems by numbers the population might be right if only their consultations didn’t have an agenda already built into them we might not be having these discussions.
Question. The opposition have indicated that they would cancel this project, it would be irresponsible therefore to sign any binding contracts before next May. Answer. This is a pre planning consultation and we can’t comment on what might happen politically. Well the question has huge implications to us all and it would be irresponsible to saddle us with any future contractual costs when the outcome is not known or uncertain or maybe they might not care to go over the cliff and take us with them. What do you think.
Question. How long is it expected to be under construction, what will be the impact on the towns traffic during this period and what route will the spoil take. Can’t remember the time, think he said something over 84 weeks but am not sure. Traffic plan will be in operation ( well that’s obvious, severe disruption was the answer I was expecting) and don’t know the route of the spoil. You will probably note that this operational information was not provided at the consultations 1 and 2 which I’m sure could have resulted in differing supportive approval figures. But this is our reality.
Q. The piling question was asked but not by me. Answer. We have taken some samples around the area but once the Arran Mall is away we will get the samples from there. Happens to be where the pools will be. We are confident we know what is in the ground and don’t envisage any problems or cost implications. ‘Confident’ Eh well maybe? Piling noise won’t be a problem, a new technique. We have to realise to the salesman, nothing is ever a problem. Look into my eyes and nod.
Q. Then we had overlooking issues. Answer Widows are opaque on the top level or the line of sight to housing is sufficiently distant.
Question. I asked about footfall as being a major selling point from the outset. This surely will now be less as there is now no sports hall or diving pool. Project projected footfall in the town never answered which was the original sales pitch but instead chose to interpret the question as footfall in the leisure centre. Answer. The loss of personnel using a sports hall and diving pool and presumably those other lost activities will be compensated much more by people using the increased floor space of the studios leading to a net gain. Study the before and after schematic plans and you will see front accessible parking in place of the sports hall. If you use the medical centres you are unlikely to have convenient parking any longer. Do we believe the spin or not. It still remains that after a session here most will go home in my opinion and not remain in the town as the spin goes. That data would be available from the Irvine pool and broadcast if it were at all true.
Question. We have gone from Olympic sized pool to 3 smaller pools and sports hall to no sports hall. Can the consultation data for 1 and 2 now be relied on as the present project presented is much different indicating that not much preparatory work was done before the consultations. Answer. The Olympic sized pool should never have been suggested it was quite out of the question. Do I not remember the former leader ensuring vehemently that nothing other than Olympic sized pool would do and that went on for months if not a year or more? I remember listening to him and was included in at least the 1st consultation in 2018 I think. The 3 pools were a fairly recent addition. So was the project robust in the first place or was it always in the liquid concrete stage and possibly still is. Make it up as you go along, no wonder they can’t cost it more accurately but is for sure to be more than they say if the past is anything to go by. Pound for pound against user numbers is the investment really necessary as many say it is in the wrong place altogether and prefer to refurbish the existing Citadel.
We have real live data available to us from the Irvine town centre pool.
Question. Why have we never seen this data in comparison to the predictions forecast for this project. Answer. A long ponder, I’ll step in and answer that one. Basically we can’t do that because it is not like for like blah blah waffle. I have heard that the Irvine pool is just ticking along. Nothing to add further to the brush off. I’m sorry but if town centre locations for pools is what they say will happen in their predictions on increased numbers and live data is already available on our doorstep with a similar sized town then I’m sure they would be singing from the roof tops its praise and success and slinging more figures our way, more than we could cope with in one session. Not happened to date has it, tell you something.
Well I appreciate you all must be getting weary. There were at least half a dozen more questions I raised to the point where,
Question. I said I must be the only one there. Answer. There are 11 online, didn’t hear them squeak much. I fear they must have left their computers for coffee. I wonder what spin they will put on the interest factor of this online consultation but I was grateful to at least put some of my questions but not all. Unfortunately it is likely as always with the present incumbents that public opinion really doesn’t matter and aptly answered when quizzed about the 3,100 objections on change.org Citadel Ayr above if you were in any doubt. Just remember the slogans to help you get through the rest of your day. ‘We’re listening to you’ and a special for this consultation, ‘Making a difference every day,’ Makes you feel a whole lot better doesn’t it.
If you haven’t signed then google change.org Keep the Citadel Ayr if you agree please do. For those who have signed it in the comment of 2, Reasons for signing scroll down from a former SAC sports employee’s comment is all you need to know. I hope when this council bulldozer with earmuffs gets to planning that we all can comment around many of these issues and more and for most there is no actual research data available for many of the statements made. The overriding thing is the site is simply not suitable and I refer you to the types of questioning they used to obtain the answers they wanted against the reality questions they ought to have used. Three pieces of advice on planning comments, stay away from giving alternatives they will not pay any attention to them however helpful they may be as the only consideration is what is before them written in the report paper and hopefully your comments and especially the many who want to speak for 5 mins to the panel. If anything this has the best impact when earmuffs have been worn to date. Look up on the net what are the material considerations some sites include a few more and try to comment around them. Try and get the review heard in the chambers and at the very least online with all the panel in video but insisting beforehand by email. We need to see their reaction to the points made and their mannerisms.
Kind Regards, Andrew Russell Alloway
Ayr Proposed Leisure Centre
149 St Vincent Street
Glasgow G2 5NW
Dear Mr Miller
Proposed Leisure Centre, Alloway Street Ayr. Consultation.
I have received your various communications inviting us to attend your virtual consultation. Members have expressed concern that we have been holding public meetings for the last two months in Ayr Town Hall Council Chambers and that, at the same time, a local society has been holding monthly meetings in the main auditorium. Your virtual meeting certainly appears to be convened to avoid a public meeting where a public outcry is highly likely.. In excess of 3000 members of this community have already signed a Petition demanding a refurbishment of the existing much greater facility that exists at the Citadel, rather than this ill thought out fantasy conceived by this Administration and given the backing by senior officials. The deeply flawed previous two consultations (including asking school children leading questions) did not ask whether it was in the community’s interest or wish but merely tried to force it onto us.
South Ayrshire Council are, according to the Scottish Government Audit Report on Local Governance, at the very bottom of the league in Scotland and this proposal typifies why the community is so enraged and in such a dilemma. We are not in a good place and certainly not in a position to spend in excess of £45M on a vanity project.
The replication of the Citadel cannot be achieved. The site is too small even for what might be intended; there is inadequate car parking; there are severe ground condition problems (the 1960 extension of Hourstons required 20 metre piles and can be verified by Royal Burgh records); the town’s drainage system may or may not cope with a water release of this magnitude, and we are being asked to approve at best a very sketchy plan which may or may not be achievable.
The undue haste which this pre planning application is presented underlines the anxiety of this Administration’s need to get this project “on the stocks” prior to the forthcoming election next May. Because of this and other aspects,there is an increasing likelihood of a change of Administration. If this is so, the incoming Administration will rescind this decision which bears yet more totally unnecessary costs on the community. These abortive costs will be in addition to the aborted pre-development costs incurred and burdening us by the Riverside Block, the Station Hotel and the Riverside Place high flats. This situation has gone on long enough and must not be allowed to continue.
The concern of Fort Seafield & Wallacetown Community Council is outwith your remit in many ways but must be drawn to the attention of South Ayrshire Council. It must also be included within your public consultation findings. Consequently, I shall not be attending your meeting.
Fort Seafield & Wallacetown Community Council
Parking Consultation Reply from ARA
Dear Mr McLean,
I apologise for the delayed response. Thank you for your correspondence in relation to the Ayr parking consultation which has recently ended on 16th August 2021. We considered the fact that at this time of year many people may be on holiday which is why we opted for a 6 week consultation window. The consultation was advertised in the normal fashion through a local press release and social media posts.
The consultation topics reflected the proposals set out in the parking strategy and the consultation itself was designed to gather general feedback. This feedback will be collated and taken into consideration as we refine the proposals. The intention will then be to present these refined proposals in a further consultation phase where anyone with an interest will be invited to submit more detailed comments and suggestions. We are keen to engage with as many people and groups as we possibly can.
I can also confirm that these proposals will link to any other proposals taken forward by South Ayrshire Council especially in relation to the Esplanade. We are not proposing to remove the cycle lane from the Esplanade. We are simply making a case for managing the space available in a more effective manner which caters for every groups needs.
We appreciate the need to manage parking in accordance with the type of restriction and the location in which it applies. The differences between residential and non-residential areas are quite clear and we fully intend to design systems which are appropriate to each location.
In terms of the existing streets within the town centre which are subject to limited waiting restrictions, we have made the case that these arrangements do not best meet business needs as the desired turnover is not achieved. Pay and display parking is a proven method in which to generate parking space turnover which is less labour intensive to manage. This would in turn free up Parking Attendant time for residential areas or indeed any new areas.
The proposals put forward for the residential areas are similar to those provided elsewhere throughout the country. A residents’ permit scheme with shared use limited waiting bays should accommodate all residential needs as well as the needs of those who visit for short durations. Residents’ visitors who want to stay for longer than the proposed 1hr limit would also have access to a residents’ visitor permit option. Any agreed pricing structure will indeed take into consideration the need to encourage a reduction on the reliance on cars and ensure any scheme is at the very least cost neutral to manage.
I also acknowledge the concerns raised by Mr Bulloch in relation to Queens Terrace. We have also received feedback from representatives of other residential areas such as Fairfield Road. Please be assured we will take all the points raised into consideration before presenting our aforementioned refined proposals.
I hope this response is of assistance to you and I look forward to hearing from you in the future as we progress matters.
Barrie McDonnell IEng MICE
Team Leader | Parking, Bus Infrastructure, Shopmobility
Parking Consultation Response
To ARA and SAC Chief Executive
Good Day to you both
Attached is our Community Council formal response to the Ayr parking Consultation together with the detailed response from one of our residents
The questionnaire does not address the residents' real concerns regarding the way that this questionnaire is slanted. Its inability to correct the existing situation is seen as only a money gathering exercise which will not benefit the town's tourist and shopping activity. It will effectively smother out any hope of a Renaissance in Ayr and needs a really meaningful consultation rather than give Councillors options to agree when their knowledge of such matters is limited.
The Council needs to involve the people that it represents and break away from the “bunker mentality” where repeated requests for a dialog with the people on other matters has been rejected.
We look forward to a formal request to this submission.
Fort Seafield & Wallacetown Community Council, Ayr
15 August 2021
Seafront Consultation Report
South harbour and Esplanade Meeting with SAC
Adding my thanks for meeting with us on such a 'fresh' day.
The Fort area extends well beyond the harbourside and you agreed a more joined up approach is needed to attract residents and tourists to the beachfront.
I explained that I have been co-opted by FSWCC as special interest member for Ayr Seafront Consultation and asset transfer proposals and have been holding a number of informal meetings to gauge opinion and gather ideas. The vast majority of the people I've met with will not have their views 'heard' in the consultation.
As discussed, the old crazy golf site has been identified as an ideal outdoor activity space, with a 'Beach Buddies' club, for children capable of independent play. Feedback was overwhelmingly in favour and ideas flowed.
Through the charity I founded and run, match funding may be available for this kind of project.
As you said, pulling together a task force to plan and implement what's possible within the budget is the next step.
Hello and thanks for taking the time to meet with us today.
You confirmed that the planting work already carried out is part of a £10K fund to carry out planting and to get the lighting working. You will be speaking to ARA to get an update on the lighting works and we look forward to an update one you have this information.
We inspected the work carried out on the footbridge and were in total agreement that it was “unimpressive” to put it mildly! You will revert to ARA and seek information and timescale of proper refurbishments including the up lights on the bridge. Again it would be appreciated if you can keep us posted on progress.
The Watchful continues to deteriorate and we agree it is well beyond any possible restoration work. You believe that it will be removed in due course ,but that the concrete plinth will be retained for some future use.
At present there is no detailed overall structure plan for the future of the south harbour but, we are all in agreement that the area could be a strategic asset in relation to the local history of the area. There is a huge untapped resource to be developed. You have kindly agreed to put us in touch with those in the Council best placed to help in planning the future of the area and incorporating community involvement.
We looked briefly at the old watchtower and you understand that this is still in Council ownership. Perhaps you can confirm. We feel that some form of community led catering outlet could be provide from this location, and again this requires further investigation and would be dependant on appropriate utility services being available. could you investigate?
Whilst you understand that legal notice to quit has been served on the operators of the esplanade kiosk, you believe that there are legal issues to be resolved and it is unlikely to become vacant before the end of the 2021 summer season.
We appreciate you will be busy with day to day matters so no need to reply to this email unless you have any concerns re the content.
We do however look forward to any updates you can give re the foregoing.
New Ayr Leisure Centre Consultation - Tell us what you think!
Monday 22nd March - Friday 30th April 2021
During the 2018 'Ayr Your Views' consultation, just under half of all respondents said they never use the Citadel Leisure Centre and the reasons for this varied. Some felt the facilities were tired, old fashioned and in poor condition. Others felt it was too remote, out of the way, not on bus routes and not pleasant to walk to. The majority of those surveyed felt the Citadel should be replaced with a more modern facility and if it were to move closer to the town centre then a third of respondents would use it more often than they do now.
Recognising the age and condition of the Citadel Leisure Centre, and the public views on the matter, the Council is now keen to replace it with a new leisure facility closer to the town centre. Developers are planning to create a new cinema and food and beverage outlets at the Kyle Centre and there is an opportunity for the new leisure centre to link up with this development creating a strong leisure and entertainment hub in the centre of town that is easily accessible by car, public transport and on foot. These changes could not only help to improve the town centre but help us to #getfitforourfuture
Early proposals have been developed for a new facility and we now want to engage communities and local people of South Ayrshire in decisions about the design of the centre. This is your opportunity to let us know what you think of these early proposals and also what you’d like to see in your new leisure centre. The consultation will look at some ideas for each of the key spaces in the new leisure centre and ask for your opinion - we've also included sketches to help you to imagine what some of the areas could look like.
Considering existing Covid restrictions, the consultation will take the form of a digital survey. This will be launched on South Ayrshire Council’s Consultation Page https://beta.south-ayrshire.gov.uk/consultations on Monday 22nd March and will receive responses until Friday 30th April. Alternatively, to request a printed copy, please write to:
Ayr Leisure Centre Consultation
Thank you for your time.
Active Travel Strategy
An Active travel Strategy is being prepared for South Ayrshire and we want to hear what your priorities are. Make your voice heard from March 1st-31st by completing our online survey and mapping tool:
We want to know:
- What are the current barriers to Active Travel?
- What would make Active Travel more appealing?
- Where are the missing links?
- How can transport be better integrated?
If you have any questions or need assistance, please contact - firstname.lastname@example.org
Response to Councillor Saxton's letter in Ayrshire Post
Councillor Saxton's letter in last week's issue requires an urgent response.
Why do we “serial objectors” keep criticising South Ayrshire Council decisions on such a regular basis? Because we all care about our town's wellbeing. This Council keeps taking us up very expensive blind alleys. This has caused a huge waste of our money, be it the Riverside Block in High Street, Belleisle, the Station Hotel etc. The losses on the High Flats episode could become of gigantic proportions.
Councillor Saxton's letter is couched in such “official speak” that its bulk seems to have been written by an official, at least partially.
The tenants survey was so manipulated and flawed as to make Belarus look democratic. The way that the survey questions were put and the way that interpreted results were collated was shameful. The elderly and, in some cases infirm, tenants were not made aware that the survey was asking whether to demolish or not.
This survey was designed to confirm the post Grenfell position that the Council should take “the perfectly reasonable decision to demolish”. This was despite the Council's own surveys showing that the flats were safe and sound.
We keep going back to this!!
In his letter Councillor Saxton refers to cost not being a factor. Really? Why therefore were the refurbishment costs so inflated, as demonstrated by us, and why were only 90 houses proposed as a replacement? How can it be “a perfectly reasonable decision to demolish and rebuild” causing such social chaos?
On the matter of only 29 requests on the housing list of over 4000 wishing to relocate to the flats, as reported, suggests that the Housing Department was not fulfilling its proper marketing role.
I attended the full Council Meeting in June 2019, when two officials addressed the meeting. Hidden deeply in the 15 minute or so of reading the Report was the simple sentence “Fort Seafield & Wallacetown Community Council did not agree with this”. Had all the Councillors glazed over at this stage or did they not think that the Community Council had several valid points to make and that questions should be asked?
We now urgently ask our Councillors to stop, take a deep breath, and think that a wrong decision may have been made and that an independent review should be arranged before some of the remaining tenants are evicted. Eviction is what will happen if they refuse offers be they Ballantrae, Girvan or Dundonald Eviction is a harsh and emotive word but that is what will happen.
As a footnote, it is reported that 5G telecom equipment is presently being installed on the roof of the flats under the terms of the long lease. Has the cost of the breaking this lease been factored into the equation? This is another question requiring an answer.
Norman McLean FRIAS
Fort Seafield & Wallacetown Community Councillor
Ayr seafront consultation
Take part in the public consultation via this link.
Ayr Seafront Development
Consultation Response from Fort Residents' Association
Do you agree with proposals to improve St Germain-en-Laye Gardens?
YES to upgrading and extending bandstand, upgrading existing gardens, low bench wall seating to seafront and fountain restoration.
NO to railings and gated entry points.
Would you suggest other improvements?
FRA agrees with maintaining formal layout of garden from war memorial to fountain but would suggest a relaxation of style from fountain to bandstand allowing more informal seating (perhaps within temporarily marked ‘social circles’).
During ticketed events, fixed seating could be enclosed by moveable 2m opaque fencing with controlled entry and exit points (similar to that used at Women's Golf in Troon).
Bandstand should include large rear screen which can be used in its own right to show livestreamed performances or as an interactive backdrop to staged events.
Do you agree with proposals to improve the green space occupied by the putting green?
YES to improvements to landscaping, picnic area, seating and benches. YES also to proposed pedestrian walkways linking green spaces.
Would you suggest other improvements?
Putting Green is a large enough site to accommodate both picnic/play area and either putting or crazy golf. Ayr Rotary have expressed interest in running this. FRA supports this suggestion as ticket sales will be used to support various local charities.
An area of the picnic/play space should be dog-free fenced area.
Do you agree with proposals for a new seafront building to accommodate a cafe/bar and restaurant?
NO, existing seafront premises currently providing food and drink should be improved and extended.
Would you suggest other seafront facilities?
YES, building currently occupied by Cafe and Indian restaurant should be upgraded and extended into carpark to provide sit-in cafe/fish&chip shop. Toilets should be upgraded and lockers installed with beach hut style frontage.
Kiosk should be replaced with cedar/glazed fronted take-away/sit in/out building selling hot drinks, toasties, beach essentials etc. Designated area for enjoying views either side. 2m high ‘seaglass’ glazed windbreak to rear and sides.
The Horizon forms the third food and drink venue. Hotel should be bought by the council and a large viewing platform with indoor/outdoor space built to 'bridge' Queens Terrace Lane. Ground floor leased to local restaurant owner (car park entrance) with hotel running weddings and events (corner entrance)
On car park immediately in front a large bespoke conservatory would provide space for community events, craft stalls, farmers' markets, Christmas fayres etc. With the use of smart glass rendering glazing opaque, it could be used as additional wedding venue space.
Do you support proposals to generally enhance the seafront area, including changes to improve pedestrian priority to the streets and the Esplanade?
YES though ‘pedestrian priority’ is not explained in the proposal. Does it mean only for residents' access? Only for emergency and cleansing vehicles? Only during busy times?
This proposal should not include Queens Terrace Lane. Queens Terrace residents and B&B guests require vehicle access at all times.
What enhancements would you be supportive of?
Shore Bus; route, Ayr Train Station, Wellington Square, Esplanade, South Harbour Street, Town Centre, Ayr Train Station. Vouchers could be made available on the bus for local shops and restaurants.
It is essential that plans, and budget, include proposals to improve and develop the South Harbour area including Watchful fishing boat, Watchtower and blackboard ‘art’ installation.
This submission is in favour of breathing new life into Ayr Seafront however years of neglect has resulted in deterioration and decay so widespread that the challenge is..where to start? Surely has to be in the planning and execution of essential repairs..no point in shampooing a threadbare carpet.
Ayr Seafront Development
Consultation response from Fort Seafield & Wallacetown Community Council.
We are broadly in agreement with the consultation submitted separately by Fort Residents Association and this submission should be considered in tandem with their response dated 16 December 2020 at 9.14am.
Q1A We are in agreement with FRA
Q1B We agree with FRA.
Q2A We agree with the enhancement of this area but with active facilities. There is space in abundance in the Low Green for picnicing and other passive pursuits.The putting/crazy golf idea being supported and financed by Ayr Rotary should be closely explored.
Q3A We absolutely disagree with the proposal to build a one or two storey restaurant/cafe on the north part of the site. Existing facilities at the Horizon Hotel should be encouraged. This is Common Good land and has serious legal implications in proposing a building.
Q3B We agree with FRA that in terms of the Seafront Brief, a wider consideration from the Ayr India south end to the slipway at the north end, omitting the Low Green should be included. The present remit is not sufficient to address the overall concept of a seafront fit to attract tourists.
The new owners of the Horizon Hotel should be given every encouragement to develop facilities in this area. A one way system using Queens Terrace Lane will simply not work. The present layout with adjustments should be retained.
Q4A We agree with FRA that the term “pedestrian priority” is poorly described and requires clarification needed before comment can be made.
Q4B We agree that a shore bus route, diverting bus routes from Wellington Square to the town, Belleisle and Burns Museum is well within the capabilities of Stagecoach.
We further agree with the final paragraph of the FRA submission.
Fort Seafield & Wallacetown Community Council December 2020
Riverside Place Update
Flaw in flats demolition
Ian Stewart's letter of 25 November raises interesting points in relation to the proposed demolition of the Riverside Place flats and the replacement by 90 new build houses.
Coming from a housing design and construction background, I initially could not fathom out how the figures set out to the Leadership Panel in 27 November 2018 could possibly stand scrutiny.
On investigation and having had detailed consultations with the South Ayrshire Council (SAC) Design Team, it became clear that no Cost Benefit Analysis (as laid out in UK Government's procurement Green Book) was carried out but that an arbitrary 20% Contingency sum was added to the probable cost to cover anticipated increases. There was no “house by house survey” as is standard procedure for re-furbishments, in order to establish the extent of the works. This should have been done in place of the “Essential and Advisable” section so as to give an accurate and realistic assessment of the costs involved. Further investigation of this Section showed a saving in excess of £600,000 in window replacement alone. This, and other inaccuracies were made known to the Councillors.
The justification of demolition based on the Grenfell disaster was not borne out by the SAC subsequent detailed survey of the safety of the flats. This revealed that they were structurally sound, in very good order and were the safest fire risk houses in the SAC housing stock. When re-furbished they would have a lifespan in excess of 30 years, as confirmed to me by the SAC Design Team. The folly of multi storey housing demolition highlighted by 14 of the country’s leading architects was also brought to the attention of Councillors.
The financial viability of the 90 house re-development, which is the maximum number that can be built for less than the re-furbishment, requires a Scottish Government subsidy of £57,000 per house (£5,130,000). This subsidy will achieve 144 houses fewer than exist at the moment. Further financial items unknown at the time of the report and extraordinary to the cost comparison include 5 lifts (£80,000-100,000 each) and the possibility of piling the site, as was done before.
It now falls to all SAC Councillors to challenge and scrutinise this flawed project and reject it before it is too late. I urge constituents to help make this case to them. This decision can be re-addressed and rectified.
Norman McLean FRIAS
Fort Seafield & Wallacetown Community Councillors
2 December 2020
Riverside Place Public Consultation
On behalf of South Ayrshire Council to notify you of a public consultation event that will commence on the 14th of august.
The consultation covers the initial and ongoing proposals for a future new housing development at Riverside Place.
The event will take the form of an online consultation which can be viewed at https://www.south-ayrshire.gov.uk/consultations/ from 14th August - 28th August, and exhibition boards in the windows of the Grain Exchange on the High Street, Ayr from 14th August - 28th August.
The consultation is part of the pre-application design process. No application has been submitted at this time. Further information can be viewed on South Ayrshire Council's website above.
Members wishing to comment on the proposed development are invited to do so in writing ourselves at LMA Architects, 6 New Road, Ayr KA8 8EX or by email to email@example.com no later than 28th August, or, using the feedback form on the consultation page of the Council Website. Comments made are not representations to the planning authority, they are feedback that will inform the ongoing design process and proposals.
Download leaflet »
Appropriateness of some monuments and street names in South Ayrshire.
As our Community Council is presently in recess, I have been asked by some members to respond to the above consultation by SAC on the merits of current tangible records of past people of local and national significance.
All of us have good points and not so good points and, I suspect, many national figures who have contributed significantly to the welfare and success of the society that we now enjoy, do not have an entirely unblemished past.
Last year on visiting the town of Hoorn in the Netherlands, which gave its name to Cape Horn, in a small square I came across a statue to a local dignitary whose contribution locally was immense. On closer examination of the information it was revealed that, aware of his earlier shortcomings, the citizens had two plaques added to the monument recognising his great work for the community and his earlier failings. Not only did this give a balanced view to the citizens but gave tourists like me an insight into the man and his times.
Surely this is the way that a modern society conducts its history and recognises it, and not by the forceful elimination of this history but the acknowledgement of it. Leaving nothing but a scar in its place is no solution and further entrenches prejudices By all means,in recognising the failings let us also recognise the tangible achievements of the time, many gratefully erected by public subscription.
Fort Seafield & Wallacetown Community Council
12 June 2020
TGP and Civic Engineers were appointed by South Ayrshire Council to investigate ways that the public realm and accessibility in Ayr Town Centre might be improved, particularly for those choosing to walk or cycle. We are seeking to ensure that moving through the town centre is safe, easy to navigate and pleasant for all. We are also focusing on improving linkages by foot and cycle to North Ayr from the town centre. At present, access to the centre of town is made difficult by the presence of main roads, busy junctions, the railway line and the river. Bridges, underpasses and a core path network go some way in connecting North Ayr to the centre of town, but there is scope for enhancing these connections and the public spaces they occupy.
The link to the project is here:
Riverside Place Flats
To Eileen Howat
We refer to our Report of 29 January which you passed to your Director of Place to respond. He in turn passed it to Michael Alexander, Housing Lead who replied to me on 20 February copying to you and others. The response of Fort, Seafield & Wallacetown Community Council is as follows:
To Michael Alexander
Service Lead - Housing Services
South Ayrshire Council.
I refer to your email of 20 February which included a copy of your “amended” Note of our meeting on 9 May 2019. This is the only Note correcting the omission of our relevant comments at that meeting. The Note does not however get to the nub of our enquiry.
Our concern regards the emphasis given by your Department to weight the refurbishment costings as is now revealed within those contained in the Essential and Advisable Report (E&A) highlighted in Appendix 1 of the Leadership Panel report of 27 November 2018.
Following upon a successful Appeal against redaction, we now have access to the Report. It has shown that “standard procedures in projects of this kind” are substantially challenged by our expert on procurement as stated in Section 4 of our Report. We find that the E&A Report is flawed in substance and in financial content where it relates to the existing condition of the fabric. This, in addition to our Report, is further exemplified in your response relating to remedial work recently carried out. You state that the £2.6M set out to the Leadership Panel on 27 November 2018 was not totally carried out but that £1.276M only was expended, thus reducing the probable cost by £1.324M on this item alone.
The substance of the specification does not reflect the actual position of the Flats as no “house by house” survey was undertaken and costings included an arbitrary 20% added contingency. In our opinion, it would not stand scrutiny by any external audit body.
We assume that the points raised in our Report to Councillors, that have not been challenged by your response, are agreed.
With combined savings outlined within our Report, this further demonstrates that the probable costs presented to Council show an unrealistic refurbishment cost on which the Council had to make a decision.
Our contention is that this decision to demolish was predetermined. The probable costs sought at the earliest stage from a demolition contractor, an over-elaborate E&A Report on costings combined with a lack of initial consultation with the local community council, as stakeholders, together with the refusal of our Participation Request in such a disgraceful manner indicates the complete lack of community involvement and transparency in this matter. The one sentence refering to our objection contained within your Report to Council of 27 June 2019 does not in any way represent our input into the deliberations or give a balanced judgement. We had to seek meetings with you when realising the gravity of the situation. Our views have been thwarted at almost every turn.
These indicators lead us to the conclusion that this was an Official driven proposal and that the safe and sound multi storey housing stock would always be a source of concern to them. Grenfell was seen as the rectifying opportunity despite the chronic shortage of housing stock. In our view, this Council cannot justify the removal of 234 perfectly sound and popular houses in the current financial and housing climate. Similar Flats in Saltcoats are being refurbished by North Ayrshire Council.
You mention, in your email, that “the Council will continue to fulfil it's obligations to carry out essential repairs”. Our Wallacetown Councillors question this statement when comparing it with the dreadful condition of the low rise housing within the Wallacetown area as recently confirmed by letters to the local Press. This protest now seems to have effected a response from your Department.
At this time of budget restraints and possible cuts, our request to your Council for a Notice of Motion to examine and hopefully reverse the decision is extremely timeous as this decision has and will involve South Ayrshire Council in an unsubstantiated and needless expense at this time of constraint. In the meantime residents feel as if they are being cast to the four winds.
We do not expect you to agree with this summation, but to others copied with this response we urge them to reconsider the situation that can be reversed by stopping the redevelopment of the site and the rehousing of the residents with a realistic refurbishment. This further refurbishment, on a closely monitored basis, can be undertaken block by block by decanting into the properties presently vacant within the site.
Norman McLean DA(Edin) FRIAS
Fort Seafield & Wallacetown Community
Letter from Michael Alexander dated 20.2.20:
Dear Mr McLean
I write with regards to the Fort, Seafield and Wallacetown Community Council's report received on the high flats at Riverside Place.
I note that the Chief Executive has already responded direct to you in respect of your comments on the decision taken by Council on 27 June 2019. This detailed the Council decisions and resultant required actions which Officers of the Council are now progressing.
In Section 3 of the report, you have indicated that you requested details of the Brief issued to the Design Team, but you have not received this. At the meeting which took place on 9 May 2019 with you and Mr Petrie at Riverside House, which was attended by myself, Pauline Bradley (Service Lead - Professional Design Services) and Steven McGhee and Mark McHenry representatives from LMA Architects, you asked about the Brief. This matter was responded to and details were provided by the Technical Representatives at this meeting. I have included a copy of the note from this meeting, detail relating to the discussion on this matter is outlined under Item 3.
In the second last paragraph of Section 3 in the report, you refer to the work that was carried out in 2019 at a projected cost of £2,600,000 and this money will be wasted if demolition takes place. I feel that it is important to provide an update on this. As outlined in the report to the meeting of South Ayrshire Council on 26 June 2019, a first phase of this work was progressed by the Design Team, and is now complete. The overall expenditure in relation to this phase of work is £1.276 million. Taking account of the decision by Council on 26 June 2019 to demolish the existing blocks and provide new amenity housing on the site, no further work is planned at this time. However, it was outlined in the report to Leadership Panel on 26 November 2019, that the Panel should note that as long as properties at Riverside Place are occupied by tenants, the Council will continue to fulfil its' obligation to carry out essential repairs and undertake the necessary safety and compliance checks. This work will be funded from existing resources.
Service Lead - Housing Services
Friends of Belleisle have started a petition
To ‘Protect our Common Good Land’ at the Old Racecourse. We need more support.
You can read more and sign the petition here.
Objection to Seafield Golf Course Expansion onto The Old Racecourse
There is an old tobacconist shop at Burns Statue Square, where Alloway Street meets Killoch Place, with ‘T.H. Dalling’ lettered in gold on the frontage. I am sure that those familiar with the area will be aware of its existence - currently wedged between a chip shop and a derelict nightclub.
Mr Dalling - who died before I was born - was a friend and business partner of my grandfather, Donald Henderson. Together they ran Dalling & Henderson Ltd, an Ayrshire enterprise concerned in no small part with the production and distribution of postcards.
When my grandfather died in 2003, our family were amazed to find that not only had the thousands of photographs that he had taken over the years (and transformed into postcards) been kept, they had also been carefully catalogued, making it easy for us therefore to peek into the past.
Among the cornucopia of images, taken all over post-war Scotland, are several of what I am sure were some of the highlights of a trip to Ayr: Belleisle House; Burns Statue Square; The Station Hotel; The Auld Brig to name a few.
I have attached some pictures here if you fancy a look.
What strikes me when I look at these photographs and others, being aware of the current state of these once magnificent places, is how have Ayr's finest assets been allowed to reach the level of dilapidation and ruination that we see today?
It is exasperating taking a trip through our once vibrant town, seeing the depravation and results of mismanagement of funds at almost every turn, only then to read on an almost weekly basis of bold plans for this and secret plans for that, spending money where it is needed least, and eroding any trust there might be in South Ayrshire Council's efficacy.
We all want Ayr to develop and prosper, and yet this cannot be done properly without first respecting and preserving our history and protecting the few things we have left that bring us together. The Old Racecourse, or course, being one such place.
The Old Racecourse is much more than Common Good Land – it is a local treasure, and it belongs not only to our community, but the communities past and those to come. Anyone without a vested interest in its demise knows that it is well used and much loved. It is a place for national tournaments and after-school pick-up games, for goals and tries, for learning how to ride a bike or kick a ball, how to win or lose and shake hands, how to fetch & stay, and for sitting and reflecting on those who have gone before us and encouraging those who are coming after.
The flippancy with which it's worth to the community is being misrepresented, and the manner with which it is being subjugated before our very eyes is not only alarming, but also based on what seem to be sleights of hand and other questionable tactics, for instance:
- There is a risk that not having a golf academy will adversely affect the number of young people taking up golf. What is the evidence that this risk assessment is based on, and if it is true, on what grounds is it the responsibly of our community to provide land for Scottish Golf’s or AGT's gain? It would also be interesting to know how youth golfer statistics weigh in South Ayrshire Council’s eyes against the wishes of the community they serve and the preservation of public spaces?
- The holes will be encroaching on football pitches only. The Old Racecourse has multiple uses, as can be evidenced by simply going there and looking at the activities being undertaken on weeknights and weekends.
- No loss of land to the public. People will still be able to walk on the golf course. A disingenuous notion. Are AGT to provide members of the public with helmets and body armour?
- This will give every child in South Ayrshire a chance to play golf. This can easily be done without the need to dig up the Old Racecourse. In addition, Seafield Golf Course is located in one the most affluent areas of South Ayrshire, is a stone’s throw from Ayrshire’s only Private School, and is not accessible to those from less affluent areas of South Ayrshire without great effort and expense - in short the plan is not practical, or inclusive, and seems to lean against the encouragement of diversity and equality.
- Objections are coming from the “same serial objectors that won’t allow us to do anything”. Not only does this statement show contempt for the local residents who give up their free time to try to preserve what we have left, it is also untrue.
The list goes on, and there are members of the community far more learned than me that will be able to put forward a more robust argument, so I simply plead to your common sense and civic pride - leave it be!
Not one of the “same serial objectors”.
The Development of a Golf Academy
South Ayrshire Council Report by Depute Chief Executive and Director »
Future of High Flats - Riverside Place
Documents regarding the Future of the Riverside Place flats Participation Request can be downloaded below:
SEEAYR, A pamphlet by Robert Bennie
Robert Bennie is a child of the fifties, a Glaswegian by birth and Honest Man by upbringing. Robert lived for many years almost within earshot of the Kelvingrove organ and enjoyed the many artistic treasures of City of Glasgow, the world class city archives of the Mitchell Library and the treasures of the Burrell collection. Robert is of course everyman.
Download the pamphlet ‘A visit to Ayr in 2030’ here »
EConstruct and Design — Seafield House
EConstruct and Design purchased Seafield House 3 years ago and no renovations have started. Planning discussions have taken place for development of the house and new houses in the grounds. The Community Council is concerned that the building is falling into more disrepair.
Residents are also concerned who is responsible for maintenance of the wall around the grounds. This affects houses in Arrol Drive and Auchendoon Crescent particularly.
The Community Council understands that the Health Board was responsible for maintenance of the wall but if there is to be sales of housing plots, who is to be responsible? The Community Council has written to the developers asking for an update and clarification.
If any residents have concerns please email us and we shall raise with the developer.
Riverside Community Trust
South Ayrshire Health and Social Care Partnership has drafted a new Strategy and Implementation Plan to support adults in South Ayrshire with Mental Health issues.
We have been asked to raise awareness of the draft strategy for people to read, comment on and complete the online survey.
The Strategy has been developed with support and assistance from Health Improvement Scotland and covers the period 2017-22.
The full draft strategy and a summary version can accessed by clicking on this link
The online survey can be access here:
take the survey »
South Ayrshire Health and Social Care Partnership - Draft Learning Disability Strategy for 2017-23
We have been asked to raise awareness of the draft strategy for people to read, comment on and complete the online survey.
The strategy has been designed to ensure that organisations operating in South Ayrshire are able to meet the principles set out in the National Strategy for Learning Disability - “The Keys to Life.” Given this, the Health and Social Care Partnership has agreed local outcomes in keeping with the national approach and an Implementation Plan to deliver against these outcomes.
The full strategy, a summary version and support information and evidence can accessed by clicking on this link
The online survey can be access here:
take the survey »
New Police Scotland Public Consultation Survey. Your View Counts in Ayrshire.