A community group has hit out at South Ayrshire Council over plans to demolish the former Ayr Station Hotel, amid claims the hotel could be fully restored for around £3 million less than the council's own estimate.

SAVE Britain’s Heritage has completed a structural engineer’s report on Ayr Station Hotel, with Ayr Station Community Action Group backing up its claims.

The report was completed with the help of conservation engineer, Ed Morton, alongside other companies.

And Ayr Station Community Action Group has insisted that the building is stable despite years of neglect, backing up SAVE's claim that the hotel could be repaired and restored for £9.2 million - against the council's own estimate of a £6m cost to demolish the south wing of the building alone.

Councillors in South Ayrshire had rejected the heritage group's claims that the crumbling Station Hotel building in Ayr can be saved from demolition.

Esther Clark, of Ayr Station Hotel Community Action Group, said: "South Ayrshire Council has failed to ensure the proper care of these iconic buildings over many years. As usual they do not pursue their duty of care but want to step in and demolish.

"They are currently seeking  funds of  about £7m to demolish the best  one third section of the building as opposed to £9m to safeguard the whole. The demolition will leave another big hole in Ayr.

"They will still need a new station which Network Rail (NR) want in glass and steel.

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"We have seen no plans or costs  for that or for whatever else SAC plan for the area.

"A glass and steel station would suit NR. This is poor value as they only last 30 to 40 years. It would also be completely undermining of the townscape in Burns Ststue Square.

"NR want longer platforms so they can use fewest and longer trains and profit more. NR are not interested in Ayr. The station has no toilets, waiting rooms, disability provisision.

"There is nowhere out of the rain where you can sit. This is a busy station despite this.

"We will be putting the report on the savethestationhotel website. It is heartening to read."

Cllr Dowey told a council meeting last Friday, September 15: "The last time we were here, we did say that people had to come back with a costed plan.

“What we have got is a report that, once again, wants the council to pay to make it wind and watertight.

“It is just under £10m, but that is not for a new hotel - it is just to make it wind and watertight.

“We are only in this position because the building has effectively been abandoned. I welcome that the Scottish Government is to pay some of the money, but time has just about run out.

“If SAVE have a plan and have identified money and an end use, then everyone in this room would love to hear it."

Conservative councillor Bob Pollock described the SAVE position as "disingenuous and fatally flawed", arguing that they had based the costs on work being carried out on the building during normal working hours.

He said that would not be compatible with the operation of the train station.

Cllr Pollock added that he felt a precedent could be set that would encourage other property owners to "let buildings become derelict" with a view to the council stepping in.

Councillor Pollock said that no costs around internal refurbishment had been provided in the SAVE report and warned that the public "should not be seduced by a headline".