South Ayrshire Council to consider demolition options at Ayr’s Station Hotel amid new safety report

Bulldozers could be sent into the Station Hotel after council chiefs finally lost patience with the saga in the center of Ayr.

The Victorian pile, which is draining the public purse of £60,000 per month in scaffolding costs, is now on borrowed time, the Ayrshire Post understands.

Another consultant will be employed — at a cost of £25,000 — to prepare a report on “permanent safety works” at the site.

Options discussed behind closed doors include flattening the building entirely, or even chopping off the hotel’s top two floors.

It follows years of desperate wrangling over the B-listed building — which is privately owned — but has seen South Ayrshire Council blow almost £2 million on safety contracts.

Officials now want the issue off their books with no potential buyer in sight.

A proposed deal that would have seen the hotel sold by current absentee owner Eng Huat Ung to a fellow Malaysian businessman has since collapsed.

Council chiefs say they now consider that matter “closed.”

It leaves County Buildings with a massive financial headache in facing up to the eye-watering scaffold bill.

The scaffolding is costing council bosses a huge sum each month
The scaffolding is costing council bosses a huge sum each month

An internal report has acknowledged the ongoing monthly cost is “financially unsustainable”.

Councilors were set to rubber stamp the new £25,000 safety works report at a meeting this week.

A senior source said: “Nothing is off the table now.

“The feeling is that decisive action needs to be taken for good.

“The hotel cannot go on costing the taxpayer £60,000 every month — at some point we need to say enough is enough.

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“It has long since become an embarrassment to Ayr and regardless of the blame game, we need a permanent resolution for the sake of the town.

“For plenty, that idea won’t be popular, but nor is the status quo a realistic option.”

A study commissioned by the council last year predicted the hotel would bleed the public coffers of more than £50m if left to rot for 30 years.

At the time, council leader Peter Henderson claimed the building could not be “left to crumble away”.

He added: “I feel this study gives us the impetus to find a solution which will help transform the town.”

But 12 months on, the hotel appears to be running out of the road.

Council leader Peter Henderson was staying tight lipped this week
Council leader Peter Henderson was staying tight lipped this week

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Cllr Henderson this week failed to respond to the Post’s request for comment.

The council — when pressed for their own statement — claimed they could not confirm any details as their meeting on the matter was “confidential”.

Former MSP Chic Brodie, who was involved in the talks to try and bring a new buyer to the table in 2020, said: “This beggars belief.

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“How many consultants does it need to report on this important matter and at what cost?

“Like many others I have a library full of historical financial and consultancy reports on the hotel.

“Further reports will not resolve what is heading to become a major local disaster if it is not already one.”

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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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