2019 Christmas message from Douglas Campbell, Leader of South Ayrshire Council

 23 December 2019  |  

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas

2019 has been a year of significant change for the Council. We are moving forward as an organisation, and this is shown by the quality and volume of investment that we have made this year, and will continue to make in the future.

We are operating with a primary focus on our people and places and there are already clear signs of positive progress.

Earlier this year, the Ayrshire Growth Deal was given the seal of approval. Part of this includes £80 million for Prestwick Airport to secure a space port; high technology jobs and to attract people to reside in South Ayrshire. To do this, we aim to bring in new business, new homes, new families and well paid jobs, which will improve and sustain our economy. 

We want to ensure everyone has access to quality leisure facilities. In this regard, we have plans for a state of the art sports facility beside Ayr Academy. We have plans to relocate the Citadel Leisure Centre into Ayr Town Centre.
The planning application for the Riverside development is due to be submitted following consultation, and hopefully work will begin in the summer of 2020 to transform this area into a fantastic venue which will play host to many events. There are also plans to open a heritage museum in Ayr Town Hall.   

The building at Ayr train station is now safe following a public safety issue, and trains are running as normal. We will continue to try to find ways to improve the rail services in Ayr, and to make contact with the owner to move things forward. The demolition of Burns House will begin in the summer of 2020.

Continuing to improve our schools is a priority, and this year we have opened Queen Margaret Academy, Ballantrae Primary and Cherry Tree Early Years Centre. Work will continue on the new Ayr Grammar, which is due to open in August 2020. This won't just be a new school, Ayrshire Archives will also move into the building, giving us a fabulous new archive centre, accessible to the public. Glenburn Primary and St Ninian's Primary will be rebuilt on one campus, allowing the schools to share facilities and build on the school community. Schools in the Carrick area will also be transformed with a new community campus and swimming facilities.

There's more good news for the Carrick area, as the Council is supporting the regeneration of the Maybole High Street. When the bypass is in operation, the high street will be a focal point which will help to bring the community together. 

We have set a target of increasing council houses and registered social landlord houses across our area to help people in South Ayrshire achieve a home of their own.

We lead the way this year in supporting our employees, by being the first Council in Europe to offer additional leave provision to employees who are victims of domestic abuse. We also received national recognition for changes to our special leave policy, which entitles female employees to seven days paid leave for every week a baby is born prematurely and requires hospital care. 

There have been some outstanding performances from Council services this year, with Property Maintenance achieving over 96% of jobs within target time, and our Registration Service had the best accuracy figures in Scotland. We saw increased success of our monthly magazine, South Ayrshire Council Live, which brings you the latest news and updates from across South Ayrshire. We've been sharing more on our social media channels too, to broaden the way we communicate with you.

We also made a commitment to reducing our carbon footprint, by introducing our Sustainable Development and Climate Change Strategy, 'Our Climate, Our Future', and reduced our net co2 emissions by 10% in 2019. We recycled 55% of our waste this year, taking us well towards our target of recycling 60% of waste by 2020. 

2019 has been a busy year, and I would like to take this opportunity to wish you a merry Christmas and a happy New Year.