A UNIVERSITY has been handed a precious Ayr mansion as part of wrangling over land.

South Ayrshire Council chiefs have gifted Craigie House to the University of the West of Scotland (UWS) as part of a deal to get a site for the new Ayr Academy.

The Advertiser has previously reported how the council gave the university land for £1 to attract them into the town.

But property negotiators at the university have been asking the council to cough up market value for land to build the replacement secondary.

Now we can reveal the 16th century rambling pile on the River Ayr is owned by UWS.

Donald Gillies, head of property and risk for South Ayrshire Council said: “Craigie House has been transferred in ownership to UWS as part of the deal to acquire the land for the Council’s new Ayr Academy.” A University of the West of Scotland spokesperson said: “The University can confirm that it recently converted the lease of Craigie House, which is adjacent to its Ayr Campus, to full ownership. UWS is looking at a range of options to ensure that this historical building continues to make a meaningful contribution to the campus’ university life.

“The University supports £42.7 million in the Ayrshire economy and looks to continue to grow this in the future.” Craigie House was designed by John Smith and dates back to 1730. Sir Thomas Wallace of Newton Castle built the property as a replacement home. Ayr Town Council bought the sprawling Craigie Estate in 1782 for £12,500.

In World War II, it was requisitioned by the army. As well as being a family home, it has been a restaurant, college and business centre.