MSP says progress must continue on the Station Hotel as rail service returns
Managing to restore train services south of Ayr shouldn’t be an excuse for delaying action to deal with the Station Hotel, according to Brian Whittle MSP.
Pic - Stranraer Train action group
The South Scotland MSP has welcomed moves by Network Rail and others to restore service to Maybole, Girvan, Barrhill and Stranraer but is making it clear that there needs to be a decision about the future of the Ayr Station Hotel sooner rather than later.
With a report into the structure of the building expected by the end of the month, Brian is pushing for a final decision on the hotel’s future as soon as possible after that. Suggestions for the building’s future include a community buy out and restoration, sale to a new private buyer or demolition and replacement, with many speculating that any solution will first involve the building being compulsorily purchased by the council from its existing absentee owner.
Services south of Ayr are now running in a limited capacity and details of the timetable going forward are being finalised. Works to encapsulate the building and address the dangers found by South Ayrshire Council were expected to be completed in early December, but the council are warning this could take longer as trains limit their ability to work.
Brian Whittle MSP said:
“After weeks of disruption to trains, I’m delighted to see communities south of Ayr getting back to something closer to normal service. But just because the trains are running again, no-one should feel we can put off making a decision about the Station Hotel’s future. A general unwillingness by South Ayrshire Council and others to think about the future of the building were what got us into this mess and I’m not prepared to see action put off again.
While having trains running again may mean the urgent repairs to the station take a little longer, that’s a small price to pay to reconnect communities to the South.
The Station Hotel can’t be allowed to sit abandoned for a minute more than is necessary to make the decision. People who rely on the railway can’t afford any more dithering and delay.”