• Ayrshire Daily News

New visitor hub opens at Belleisle

A ceremony has taken place at Belleisle Park to celebrate the opening of a brand new visitor hub. 

The £1.5 million hub is South Ayrshire Council's latest addition to the Belleisle Estate in partnership with the Heritage Lottery Fund. The fully accessible building features community space, an office for Park Rangers, accessible public toilets, changing facility and a café (opening Easter 2019)

The attractive building stands on the site of the parks' former stable block, with much of the stone from the stables incorporated into the new build.

Reusing older materials is very much in keeping with the spirit of the new visitor hub, and its green credentials extend to a biomass boiler. Along with solar panels and LED lighting, these additions mean the hub has achieved a fantastic energy performance rating.

Nestling alongside the golf clubhouse which was completed in 2016, the visitor hub brings the total investment in Belleisle Park to £5.4 million over the last 5 years.

Councillor Ian Cochrane, Environment Portfolio Holder for South Ayrshire Council said: "The new hub is a wonderful addition to the park and follows in the footsteps of the new Golf Clubhouse, restored conservatory, improved path network, play area and impressive landscaping which has already helped double visitor numbers to over 200,000 in the last year.

"The Council is keen to lead the way when it comes to carbon reduction so it was important we used sustainable energy sources at the visitor hub and this has been recognised with the award of a B energy performance rating which I am delighted with. 

"The hub will not only be a focal point for visitors to South Ayrshire but for locals too, so we are encouraging community groups to make use of the facilities. 

"We will continue to work with our partners such as the Heritage Lottery Fund to transform Belleisle Estate so it can be enjoyed for many years to come." 

Lucy Casot, Head of the Heritage Lottery Fund in Scotland, said: "This is a major milestone in the transformation of Belleisle Park. Thanks to players of The National Lottery, the park now has a heart which will draw visitors and locals through its gates to enjoy all its wonderful green spaces. Congratulations on all that has been achieved in turning round the fortunes of this historic part of Ayr."

Managing Director David Smith from Ashleigh (Scotland) Ltd who built the visitor hub said: "It's so important as a local employer and the largest building contractor in South Ayrshire that we secure work on our doorstep and allow our workforce the opportunity to work on quality projects without the need to travel far from home. 

"The project also allowed us to carry out and support a number of initiatives within the local community. Pupils from Belmont Academy learned skills involved in Joinery, brickwork, decoration, architecture, quantity surveying and more general employability skills which will very much help them shape their future careers.

"From a personal point of view, I stay next door to Belleisle and very much looking forward to having my first cup of tea in the café when it opens."