Ayr’s Station Hotel could become wedding venue, hostel or arts space – conservation group

Ayr’s crumbling Station Hotel could become a swanky wedding venue, hotel or art gallery, according to a conservation group’s report.

SAVE Britain’s Heritage proposals could see couples tie the knot once again after years of dismay for the former grand hotel.

The Station Hotel has been in a dangerous condition for more than four years and has been encased with white sheeting to protect the public.

Scaffolding holding up the B-listed building is costing the taxpayer £60,000 per month.

Ayrshire Live told earlier this year how council chiefs were losing patience over the long-running saga and were considering demolition as an option.

However, independent building experts say they have the perfect plans to save it from the bulldozers after publishing their findings as they envision a bright future.

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Demolition could be an option for the crumbling Station Hotel
Demolition could be an option for the crumbling Station Hotel

SAVE has salvaged doomed buildings across the UK with Cumnock’s Dumfries House included in their impressive portfolio.

Now it hopes its latest report will show the true potential of a “sufficiently important historic building”.

And SAVE has compared the potential of the former bustling hub to Glasgow’s art and exhibition space, The Briggait, or the plush Blythswood Hotel.

Further proposals could see the building’s part-conversion to a destination pub, with space for events including conferences and weddings, with hotel and hostel rooms on the upper floors.

James Knox, co-author of SAVE’s new report, said: “This breakthrough report offers a realistic road map to the restoration and re-purposing of the Station Hotel complex.

“Politicians and the rail authorities must grasp this opportunity to break the current deadlock and, with the help of SAVE, transform the station complex into a thriving hub.

“SAVE has a proven track record in Ayrshire with its key role in the saving of Dumfries House and the remarkable community regeneration arising from this.

“Now the time has come to back their plans for the historic county town of Ayr.”

SAVE helped salvage Dumfries House
SAVE helped salvage Dumfries House

SAVE has crunched the numbers to reveal the total estimated costs of each option, including the costs of much-needed repair works.

The most expensive option would be a hotel/hostel which would cost £18.8 million.

Second to that would be an enterprise hub/arts and crafts facility which would cost £18.4m followed by a new hotel costing £18.2m.

The two cheapest options would be for mixed use, with the combination of an enterprise hub, hotel and function space costing £17.6m.

The cheapest option would be a mix of a hotel and new train station which comes in at £12,394m.

SAVE claims the works would be suitable for a £5m investment from lottery funds, with further financing being raised from other grant-giving bodies, fundraising and some commercial investment.

And it believes renovation of the station at £10m will ease the cost for transport chiefs after it was quoted a new station would cost in the region of £25m.

Marcus Binney, executive president of SAVE Britain’s Heritage, said: “Ayr Station Hotel, though neglected, is an extremely robust, well-built, and durable structure as one would expect from the noted Scottish engineer who built it. SAVE will now actively seek partners to invest in and operate the proposed uses.”

You can view full proposals here.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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