South Ayrshire Council yesterday blocked the sale of the Station Hotel.

The building's current owner Mr Eng Huat Ung had requested he transfer ownership to another party.

The council rejected his offer to do so on the basis that the money offered was considerably less than the £1,111,171.34 that has been spent by the council in making the building safe.

The council wants to be recompensed for the amount spent on scaffolding and repairs carried out on the building since 2018 before agreeing to any sale.

They also raised concerns that the offer does not address the monthly ongoing scaffolding costs of £59,500 required to maintain the integrity of the building and therefore, the safety of the public until the building is redeveloped. 

It is understood that Mr Eng Huat Ung's offer was nowhere near meeting those costs.

A council spokesperson said: "The representative for the prospective buyer has advised they would not expect any past or future liabilities to pass to them, and this would include any costs associated with scaffolding or any safeguarding.

"Instead they have indicated that they require the property ostensibly debt free and “building ready to renovate”.

"The council is currently meeting its statutory duties to keep the public safe and does not have any requirement for the land or building for a development. Neither does the council have any associated funding that would be associated with such development that would entitle it to make a case for the Compulsory Purchase of the building.

"The community groups that have expressed an interest to develop the building can exercise the community statutory right to buy by applying for an order to do so from the Scottish Ministers if they are unable to reach agreement with the owner. Before doing so they would need to be able to evidence the funding for this purchase. The council has no right of ownership and is therefore unable to assist this process.

"The engineers have estimated the current costs to resolve the structural issues with the building to be approximately 10 million pounds."