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Ayr railway station

The Council has taken action at the building adjacent to Ayr Station, which includes the former Station Hotel, in line with our statutory obligations - under the Building (Scotland) Act 2003 - around public safety and keeping people safe. We've had to take this action as public safety issues raised in a Dangerous Building Notice served in March 2018 have not been sufficiently addressed. As a result, an exclusion zone has been put in place around the building to protect people from the significant and immediate dangers presented by the current condition of the building.

Update: 10 June 2024

South Ayrshire Council is on target to finish the safety works at the former Station Hotel in Ayr on Monday 17 June 2024.

As a result of the extensive fire in September 2023, the Council's Building Standards team instructed urgent safety works to be carried out under Section 29 of the Building (Scotland) Act 2003. The former Station Hotel is a Grade B listed building and there are strict criteria limiting any demolition. Section 29 of the Building (Scotland) Act 2003 enables the demolition of a listed building where that building presents an urgent risk to safety or adjoining property.

These safety works have addressed the risk of collapsing chimneys, fire damaged supporting beams and crumbling walls and have led to the removal of the southern section of the building, the tower and the first three bays of the northern section.

The remaining part of the building has been assessed and although it's in a poor condition, it's not an immediate safety risk, so it cannot be removed under Section 29 of the Building (Scotland) Act 2003. Therefore, a Dangerous Building Notice has been issued in accordance with Section 30 of the Building (Scotland) Act 2003, which means the owners of the remainder of the building must make it safe.

Network Rail is already looking to prevent unauthorised access, prop the newly formed gable, secure the canopies which run across the platform and the tracks and remove or repair any loose materials.

This means that when the Council's safety works finish on 17 June, ScotRail will be able to reintroduce electric services between Ayr and Glasgow and, due to the extended period of closure, work with Network Rail to complete all activities required to re-establish services south of Ayr, working towards the full return of services later in July.

Update: 16 May 2024

Safety works are continuing at the former Station Hotel. The contractors are mainly operating by hand at the moment due working in close proximity to the canopy, and we expect machines will be used again soon.  

The war memorial on platform 3 will be removed soon and stored safely by Network Rail and ScotRail.

The recent court application by the owner, Mr Ung, to stop the safety works at the site, was refused at an interim interdict hearing on 3rd May. The safety works resumed the following morning. The council has not, so far, received formal service of any further court papers from the owner's solicitors.

The council is continuing to pursue the owner for sums due in respect of the safety works. Decrees have been awarded in the council's favour against the owner in both the Sheriff Court and Court of Session. Debt recovery action is being taken in both the United Kingdom and in Malaysia.

We're still on schedule for the works to be completed by around mid-June, and we'll keep you informed as more information becomes available.

Update: 03 May 2024

The Court of Session has agreed that the safety works can continue on site. We will continue to provide works progress updates.

Update: 01 May 2024 

Mr Ung has petitioned the Court of Session for the safety works to stop at the former Station Hotel. Work has been temporarily suspended until a hearing at the Court of Session on Friday.

Update: April 2024 

The remainder of the tower and half of the northern section of the building at Ayr Railway Station is set to be taken down as part of ongoing safety works.

The works are expected to take a total of 9 weeks, which means they should be completed by 17 June 2024.

The decision comes following the conclusion of a number of structural inspections on the tower and northern half of the building.

These inspections have revealed extensive fire damage to supporting structural elements, which means these parts of the building can't remain without serious risk to public safety.

The Council's Building Standards team will now instruct contractors to continue their safety works at the north of the building, extending the use of powers under section 29 of the Building (Scotland) Act 2003 to protect the public and surrounding infrastructure.

At the trackside of the building, the walls will still need to be removed by hand in order to protect the railway, however at the Smith Street side, machinery will be used to speed up the operation.

Update following fire at the building 

A fire was discovered at the building at Ayr Railway Station on Monday 25 September.

The fire has extensively damaged the southern section of the building. You can see drone footage of the damage to the building below, and an updated video showing progress at the site. 

17 November 2023

 

26 January 2024

   

We recently reported that we discovered damaged structure in the northern section of the building and that this will unfortunately impact the timeline of our safety works.

The fire caused extensive damage and we're dealing with a very complex situation. As we don't own this building, South Ayrshire Council can only undertake our statutory duty to remove sections that present an immediate risk to persons or property in places adjacent to the dangerous building.

This means that we can't take a wrecking ball to the structure, and we have to work in a very controlled manner to prevent causing any further damage to the remainder of the building or the adjacent railway infrastructure.

The building is Category B listed, which again means we can't legally remove any more of the structure than absolutely necessary. Historic Environment Scotland are involved with the project and have been consulted throughout.

We know that this delay is frustrating for rail users and we are working closely with Network Rail and ScotRail to ensure that trains can operate from Ayr Station as soon as possible.

What about the owner?

The absentee owner of the building, who lives in Malaysia, has not contacted the Council following the fire. We have attempted to make contact with him.

Is there a concern about asbestos?

Asbestos monitoring has been carried out and there are no issues. This will be ongoing throughout the safety works.  

What about the war memorial and crest stone? 

The contractor has recovered the Glasgow and South Western Railway crest stone from the front elevation of the building. It has been protected and set aside in storage for the moment.

A metal cover has been installed at the war memorial on the south end of the building to protect it from the works.

What about trains running from Ayr Station?

A shuttle train service is available from Ayr to Prestwick Station. Please check https://www.scotrail.co.uk/ for the latest information.

A bus replacement service is available between Kilmarnock and Ayr, and Girvan and Ayr.

You can find the schedule on the ScotRail website.  

 

Update: August 2023

The Ayr Station Hotel Phase Two Option Review (June 2023), provides more detail on four options for the B listed building, but ultimately says that the only viable solution is a new railway station and or transport interchange for taxis, buses etc.

View the option review (PDF) [6MB]

Network Rail has agreed to pay half the monthly costs of the scaffolding and encapsulation works.

Update: December 2022

In December 2022, following a report produced by Mott MacDonald, the Council took a decision to demolish the southern section of the privately owned building under the statutory powers of the Building (Scotland) Act 2003.

Funding to carry out the demolition is yet to be identified. In the meantime, the Council is now set to produce an Ayr Town Centre plan which will look to transform that part of the town. This will include plans for a new railway station and or transport interchange.

A separate plan called the 'Ayr Station Vision' has been commissioned by Network Rail and also sets out plans for a new railway station taking advantage of any demolition.

Update: Wednesday 17 February 2021

Ayr Station Hotel Feasibility Study (PDF) [6MB]

The study looks at various options for the privately owned B listed building, ranging from full restoration to demolition. The study includes the results of a public consultation which was carried out in August/September 2020. It explores a number of options which were expressed during the consultation such as turning the building into private apartments, social housing, office accommodation and even retaining the majority of the building as a hotel. A number of these options have been ruled out in the study as they would require significant private or public funding ranging from £10-£25m, this would be in excess of 200% and upwards, of the final value of the property on completion. However, the study says that there has been private sector interest in recent weeks, and an option to refurbish the building for student accommodation will be considered. Other options which the study says should also be considered are those containing provision for a new train station. The train station option could also include a business centre, retail, cafe and restaurants etc. The Strategic Governance Group will now consider these options.

Update: Wednesday 20 January 2021

The independent feasibility study is now expected to be published in February. The slight delay allows further time to consider how recent developments can be reflected in the study. The study, which will look at viable options for the privately owned building, will be available on this webpage.

Update: Wednesday 25 November 2020

Thank you to everyone who took part in the public consultation on the future of the building at Ayr Train Station. The feedback, along with that of our other stakeholders will help inform the independent feasibility study which is set to be completed in the New Year. The study, which will look at viable options for the privately owned building, will be available on this webpage in January 2021.

Update: Monday 14 September 2020

The protective sheeting which covers the building is due to be checked and reattached over the coming weeks. The sections of the heavy duty membrane will be checked and
re-secured in advance of winter to protect against possible storms. The safety work is set to be complete by the end of October, subject to weather.

Update: Friday 14 August 2020

An independent feasibility study is underway. The study, which has been commissioned by the Strategic Governance Group, will identify potential future options for the building, taking into consideration viability, costs and heritage. A public consultation took place (24 Aug 2020-14 Sept 2020). The responses from the consultation will form part of the feasibility study, which is set to be completed in the autumn of 2020. The responses from the consultation will form part of the feasibility study, which is set to be completed in the autumn of 2020. A steering group was set up to support the Strategic Governance Group. This group has a working knowledge of the building and respective operational requirements. The group members are South Ayrshire Council (lead), Transport Scotland, Network Rail, Scotrail and Historic Environment Scotland. The Station Hotel Strategic Governance Group replaces the Task Force. The purpose of the Strategic Governance Group will be to oversee and approve the work being undertaken by the Steering Group in relation to the ongoing feasibility study, business continuity and communications. The group members are South Ayrshire Council (lead), Transport Scotland, Network Rail and Scotrail.

Update: Tuesday 8 October 2019

We have now received the full Structural Condition report from Mott MacDonald regarding the former Ayr Station Hotel building. The report provides a conclusion on issues, causation, rectification and the cost to restore the building back to compliance with baseline Building Standards. View the report (PDF) [86MB]

Update: Wednesday 4 September 2019

We have received the factual structural condition report from the consultants for the privately owned building adjacent to Ayr Train Station. The report is based on the condition of the building and highlights areas of defect. View the report (PDF) [86MB] . A full report will be issued to the Council around the end of September, detailing remedial action and anticipated costs.

Update: Monday 5 August 2019

Consultants have been undertaking a detailed structural survey of the building adjacent to Ayr Railway Station. This follows work undertaken to stabilise the building and ensure public safety. The survey work has proceeded under challenging circumstances due to the condition of the building and the additional safety measures and supports that have been added to the structure. The original timeline for receipt of this survey was the start of August, however this has been delayed and the Council has now agreed a revised date for issue which is the week commencing 19 August 2019. Following completion of this survey which will identify the current condition of the building and identify defects, a further major piece of work will be undertaken to appraise the report and provide an analysis of condition and the issues identified. This report will contain estimated costs of remediation of these defects and it is anticipated that this report will be made available at the end of September.

Work has been underway since mid-September to erect scaffolding around the building adjacent to Ayr train station, with the aim of putting in place sufficient protective measures to allow the reduction of the extended exclusion zone - when it's safe to do - and the restoration of rail services through the station. We're continuing to work with our partners in the dedicated Task Force that has been established to make this happen. Our partners are Transport Scotland, ScotRail, Network Rail, Historic Environment Scotland and other Scottish Government departments.

Update: Friday 12 October 2018

While the scaffolding works that got underway last month have been progressing well, they have also allowed our contractors to carry out a safe inspection of the higher parts of the building. This has highlighted significant concerns regarding the structural integrity of the building, with the roof deemed to be in a more dangerous condition than had been anticipated. We're currently working with our contractors to design a works programme that will address these concerns and continue to support the reinstatement of rail services through Ayr station. Our priority will be to ensure that it is safe for rail services to run, without risk, while the protective measures around the building are in place. We're also working with partners on alternative solutions to restore rail services south of Ayr, taking into account all possible risks and potential mitigation. Please be assured we're continuing to work with our partners in the Task Force to progress these issues as quickly and safely as possible, and further updates will be provided as and when we have further information to share.

Further information about what's happening can be found in our Q&A section.


Frequently Asked Questions

What is the actual problem with the building?

Under the Building (Scotland) Act 2003, the building has been classed as dangerous, presenting a clear and significant risk to people and property around it. This was due to its deteriorating condition, which included falling debris, loose roof slates, unsecured pipe work and unstable cast iron features.

Who owns the building?

Ayr Station Hotel, which occupies most of the building, is privately owned by a Malaysian businessman by the name of Mr Ung, who has a registered business address in London.  The ground floor of the north wing is owned by Network Rail and housed the station's ticket office and all other station facilities.

Why haven't they done anything about it?

Why Mr Ung hasn't done anything isn't for us to say.  We had to step in and take action as the issues raised in the second notice serviced in March 2018 have not been successfully addressed.  Network Rail has taken action to keep its customers and staff safe and supported us throughout firstly as a member of the Task Force set up to get train services back up and running and now as a member of the Strategic Governance Group looking at the long-term future of the building.

What has the Council been doing?

We've been monitoring this building closely since a Dangerous Building Notice was first issued in July 2013. At that time, work was undertaken by Network Rail after notice was served, which included netting being erected and crash decks being installed adjacent to Platform 3 and the entrance and ticket office. This meant the Dangerous Building Notice could be withdrawn. However in 2018 we had to serve a second Dangerous Building Notice as we identified falling debris and further safety concerns that presented a real risk to the public. As the issues raised have not been sufficiently addressed by the owner, the Council had to step in to ensure we could keep people safe.

Why didn't you do anything sooner?

As we don't own the building, we had no powers to take action until it became a statutory obligation under the legislation, which happened when the Dangerous Building Notice was issued in March 2018 and the issues raised were not properly addressed.

What is the current condition of the building?

Following the fire on 25 September, contractors are working to make the southern gable safe so that the road bridge can reopen. They will start to assess the rest of the building once that work is completeRight now, it remains a Dangerous Building and as the building continues to be in poor structural condition, we have erected a structural encapsulation and put in place sufficient protective measures to meet our statutory duties with regards to public safety. This has also allowed Scotrail Alliance to fully restore train services at the station, which was a positive outcome for the travelling public.

What's been happening since the Council stepped in?

We have a statutory duty with regards to public safety and we've been actively working to keep people and property safe and that has been at the heart of everything we've done with regards to this building. The protective measures that have been put in place have helped achieve this and, as of 20 December 2018, have facilitated the restoration of a full rail service to and from Ayr train station. Network Rail has also taken action to reduce the risk to the public. A structural survey was completed in September 2019, and is currently available on this webpage. An initial feasibility study was also produced which identified future options for the building which is also available on this webpage.

How long will the scaffolding be up?

As part of the current safety works the scaffolding is being removed, so contractors can remove stonework take down the dangerous parts of the building.The encapsulation protects the southern section of the building, this section is in the poorest structural condition. This must remain in place to ensure any material falling from the building poses no risk to the public.

Who is covering the cost of the scaffolding?

The Council and Network rail met these costs.are currently meeting the costs at present,. The costs incurred by the Council are legally recoverable under the Building (Scotland) Act and as such there are ongoing Legal cases. The Scottish Government has agreed to pay half the monthly costs of the scaffolding and encapsulation works.

Is the building structurally sound at this time? Are you carrying out a structural survey?

The building suffered extensive damage following the fire. Safety works are currently being undertaken. The focus is on the southern gable so the road bridge can reopen, the rest of the building will be assessed following this work.A structural survey was completed in September 2019, and is currently available on this webpage. The building has significant structural defects, however the safety works carried out by the Council, including the encapsulation and the introduction of an exclusion zone, has mitigated any danger to the public or the railway infrastructure.

Will the Council get the money back?

The Building (Scotland) Act 2003 entitles a Council to recover from the owner of a dangerous building any reasonable costs it incurs carrying out work to prevent access to the building and needed to keeping the public safe.  The Council is therefore seeking to recover the costs. Any recovery will be dependent on the owner having sufficient assets, and be relative to the established individual liability for the maintenance of the building. Our immediate focus is on keeping people safe and fulfilling our statutory obligations.

Why is an exclusion zone still in place?

An exclusion zone is necessary to keep the public safe while safety works are taking place. We have removed the extended exclusion zone now that the scaffolding and encapsulation works are complete. As a result, Scotrail Alliance has decided to run a full train service from the station. There is still an exclusion zone in place to protect the public which covers part of the station.

When will the station get back to normal?

Trains are not currently running through Ayr Train Station. A bus replacement service is available between Prestwick Town and Ayr; Kilmarnock and Ayr; and Girvan and Ayr. A full service is currently being run at Ayr Train Station, however the way passengers access the platforms has changed as an exclusion zone remains in place

What about reopening the ticket office and foyer area of the station?

Network Rail has constructed temporary facilities at Ayr Train Station. The old foyer and ticket office can't be accessed as they are situated within a dangerous part of the building.  

So, what happens now?

Safety works are currently underway. We expect the road bridge to reopen around 10 January 2024. In December 2022, following a report produced by Mott MacDonald, the Council took a decision to demolish the southern section of the privately owned building under the statutory powers of the Building (Scotland) Act 2003. Funding will need to be found to carry out this work.

In the meantime, Wwe're continuing to keep people safe and we'll continue to liaise with Transport Scotland, Network Rail, ScotRail to get trains running again at the station. and our partners to consider any other options that may come forward.

The future of the building has not yet been decided. You can view the Option Review at the top of this page. This study identifies a number of potential future options for the building.

What are the Council's long-terms plans for the building?

The Council has no individual plans for the building however we are now set to produce an Ayr Town Centre plan which will look to transform that part of the town. This will incorporate any plans for a new railway station and or transport interchange.

Is the Council working to identify potential alternative uses for the building?

An independent feasibility study has been published. This work was commissioned by the Strategic Governance Group on behalf of the stakeholders and identifies potential options for the building.

The Council is open to speaking with any individuals or companies interested in developing the site.

Can a community group CPO the building?

Yes. However, they would have to undertake the same steps as the Council and work with us to do this.

Are you going to demolish the whole building?

In December 2022, following a report produced by Mott MacDonald, the Council took a decision to demolish the southern section of the privately owned building under the statutory powers of the Building (Scotland) Act 2003. Funding would still need to be found to carry out this work.

The rest of the building is not in as poor a condition, so at this stage we could not use the statutory powers of the Building (Scotland) Act 2003 to demolish the whole building.

Is anyone else looking to buy the building from Mr Ung?  

There's no evidence to confirm any recent change of ownership of the building and we continue to send all correspondence to the registered owners of the building.

Is it true that the Council refused planning permission for the building to be used in a different way?

That's not true. We have never received any planning applications for the building from the current owners.

Has the Council tried to buy the building in the past?

No we have not.

Why has the Council been unable to take enforcement action against the owners of the building for letting it get into such a state when you take enforcement action against others because of the frontage of their building or shop?

These are two very separate issues - one relates to Buildings Regulations and public safety and the other relates to Planning Regulations. So, different issues and different powers granted by different areas of legislation.

Which contractor carried out the safety works?

The appointed and Network Rail-approved contractor for all the works at the building adjacent to Ayr train station is CPMS. The scaffolding works were sub-contracted to Zenith.