THE FUTURE of Ayr’s Station Hotel hangs by a thread after the building had to be cordoned off for public safety this weekend.

Private owners of the dangerous building failed to respond to a statutory warning notice forcing the council to put in additional screens and fencing to increase security and minimise the potential risk to public safety.

The council had already issued a Dangerous Buildings Notice to the hotel owners in March this year, setting out a number of immediate repairs that were required. 

But the owners have failed to respond, leaving the building to decay and deteriorate further. 

The building is now considered to be an immediate risk to public safety. Unconfirmed reports from the sealed-off site are that tests on the building had found it had shifted position.

Work, which includes a survey, began on Monday, July 2 and will give a clearer and more detailed picture of the condition of the building.

Councillor Douglas Campbell, Leader of South Ayrshire Council said: “As I’ve said before, the Station Hotel is privately owned and should be maintained to a safe standard by its owners.

“However, as they have failed to do this – and have shown no signs of taking action – we have a statutory duty to step in and ensure we keep our residents and visitors safe.

“This is obviously not a decision we’ve taken lightly, but is one we are forced to take. 

“While our priority is – and has to be – public safety, we do recognise that the works we now have to undertake will impact on people travelling to and from Ayr, and those in the immediate vicinity of the station.

“We’re working closely with colleagues in Network Rail and ScotRail to minimise the impact on both the running of the train station and on our residents and visitors, and we appreciate their understanding around this and their quick response to put alternative arrangements in place.

“This is a regrettable situation that has been brought about due to the lack of action by the hotel owners and our focus must be on ensuring we  protect public safety.”

Train services are unaffected by the work, but there are temporary changes to how customers access Ayr train station:
· The main station entrance is temporarily closed. Customers can access the station on Platform 4, or via a new temporary entrance and exit on Platform 1.
· The ticket office is temporarily closed, and the self-service ticket machines are out of use. Extra staff are on hand to sell tickets at the ticket gate.
· The main station car park is partially closed. Cars can enter and exit through the normal ‘exit’ only route further down Smith Street
· Female and accessible toilets are closed. Alternative toilet facilities are available.

David Lister, ScotRail Sustainability and Safety Assurance Director, added: “We’ve had to make some changes to how customers access the station. Extra staff will be on hand to help direct customers.”

The Council will be pursuing the recovery of  costs with the hotel  owners.