Building at Ayr train 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: 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 [88.8MB]

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 [12.7MB].

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.

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, unsecure pipework 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’ve 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 safety concerns that presented a real risk to the public. As the issues raised have not been sufficiently addressed, 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?

Right now, it remains a Dangerous Building and as the building continues to be in poor structural condition, we have erected scaffolding 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 is 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 and a feasibility study is underway which will identify potential future options for the building.

How long will the scaffolding be up?

At this time, we don’t know. The scaffolding could be in place for some time to ensure public safety and to allow for decisions to be made regarding the future of the building.

Who is paying for all this work?

The Council and Scottish Government are meeting the cost of works., but there are options for recovery of costs.

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

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 will seek to recover its costs in the future. 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?

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.

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

Network Rail is currently constructing a new temporary staff accommodation block at Ayr station. This will bring about improvements for passengers and the operation of the station. Once staff have moved to their new temporary offices, the existing portacabins will be removed. Once the portacabins are removed, future investment will include a new temporary station entrance, ticket office and waiting area with customer toilets.

So, what happens now?

We’re continuing to keep people safe and we’ll continue to liaise with Transport Scotland, Network Rail, ScotRail and our partners to consider the options in relation to the building.

An independent feasibility study commissioned by the Strategic Governance Group, is being undertaken on behalf of the stakeholders and will identify potential future options for the building.

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

As we don’t own the building, it is the owners who currently have the ability to decide upon the future of the building.

You keep saying, you don’t own the building – why not just buy it?

It’s not quite as easy as that and we’re currently confirming the legal obligations and powers of all parties and examining the statutory requirements we must meet before a Compulsory Purchase Order would be granted for the site.

Before we could even begin to consider a CPO, we need to establish whether the existing building can be restored or whether its condition necessitates the redevelopment of the site. That’s really important as this determines what powers might be available to us.

Regardless of this, the Council would need to be satisfied that it has – or can – secure sufficient funding to purchase the site, pay compensation to the landowners and complete the proposed redevelopment of the building or site in a reasonable timescale.

Therefore, funding must be available to allow for the payment of the purchase price, the costs of any contested action and the cost of implementing all the works for the proposed redevelopment. The purchase price is calculated by carrying out a full land cost estimate and includes payment for the land, professional fees and compensation – if any – due to the landowners. Compensation is normally based on the open market value of the land.

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

As we don’t own the building, we’re not currently considering alternative uses for the building. An independent feasibility study has been commissioned by Strategic Governance Group on behalf of the stakeholders, this will identify potential future options for the building.

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 building?

As we don't own the building that’s not a decision we can take at this time. The ultimate way forward will be shaped by the condition of the building, which will determine whether it can be restored or redeveloped.

Does the Council know what the new owners intentions are?

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 is carrying out the works?

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