A campaigner has warned the Scottish Government that proposals to demolish Ayr's fire-ravaged Station Hotel could have a major environmental impact. 

Safety, health and environment consultant Harry Corrigan, a member of the Ayr Station Hotel Action Group has warned 400,000 tons of rubble will need to be transported across Ayrshire if the building is finally demolished.

Three teenagers were arrested and charged after a devastating fire swept through the property on the night of September 25.

Emergency services remained on site for more than 72 hours before handing the building over to South Ayrshire Council so officials could assess the damage.

A second, much smaller, fire was discovered within the building during routine checks carried out on October 2, and was quickly extinguished.

Both the action group and conservation organisers SAVE Britain's Heritage have urged the council not to demolish the building.

Mr Corrigan has written to environment minister Lorna Slater urging her to consider the environmental impact of demolition.

He said: "South Ayrshire Council, in their rush to demolish Ayr’s best building, has estimated the cost of taking down half of it at £7m - but so far, they have told the residents nothing about the environmental cost/impact.

"The building is about 100 metres long, 25m high and 20m wide. It has two gables and 18 internal walls carrying chimneys. The walls are about 1m thick.

"That stacks up to about 130,000 cubic metres of stone and remember one cubic metre weighs around three tons. So, the building weighs around 400,000 tons.

"If they use the biggest lorries available, which are 39 tons capacity, it will require 10,000 return trips trundling through Burns Statue Square out through the town streets.

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"I don’t know where they will find a hole in the ground big enough to dispose of all this high-quality red sandstone - possibly a former opencast site out towards Cumnock.

"So, make the communities of Coylton, Ochiltree, Cumnock and Lugar aware that they are about to get an extra 20,000, forty-ton lorries lumbering through their main streets for months on end.

"Those lorries get 7.6 miles per gallon of dirty, polluting diesel fuel according to the Department of Transport.

"So, each of those 10,000 thirty-mile return trips to the coup will consume eight gallons, or 80,000 gallons in total, plus that consumed by the big machines knocking down the building and loading the lorries, say another 5,000 gallons. That is 650 tons of CO2."

Mr Corrigan continued: "Of course, we know that burning diesel does not only emit carbon, there are also the real nasties including methane, nitrous oxide and sulphur dioxide, which have known but unquantified effects on human development, especially on children’s brains. And don’t forget the dust we will all be inhaling and seeing on our washing for months.

"And we are not finished yet. Hotel occupancy rates in Ayr are still above 80 per cent, so the Station Hotel will have to be replaced by another 80-bed hotel with all the non-renewable energy consumption and financial cost of another building.

"Bear in mind that Ayr’s only other hotel of that size, the Mercure, will be demolished in the next 10 years. By then it will be 30 years past its 40-year design life and is currently being milked for its last drops of value, without any reinvestment, in the same way as the Station Hotel went downhill."

Following the fire, South Ayrshire councillors united in a plea for a change in the law which currently means local authorities are liable for abandoned and dangerous buildings - and heard a warning that councils could be bankrupted by the cost of making such buildings safe.

A council meeting last week also hit out at the campaigners who want the authority to save the hotel - but who haven't come up with the financial backing for a rescue bid.

Mr Corrigan wrote: "South Ayrshire Council plans to use ‘dangerous building’ - which the Station Hotel is not - legislation to quickly demolish the Station Hotel, while admitting that it has not got the £7-10m needed, planning, no doubt, to demand that Holyrood picks up the bill.

"Is the Scottish Government, with all their good intentions about protecting the environment going to be complicit in this enormous act of aesthetic and environmental vandalism, when we have plenty of funders like the Railway Heritage Fund, the Lottery Heritage Fund, the Scottish Land Fund and Historic Environment Scotland, whose very purpose is to rescue worthwhile buildings like the Station Hotel, and at least two local organisations ready to take on the rebuilding?

"Is the rest of Scotland willing to be complicit, by doing nothing to prevent it?"

A South Ayrshire Council spokesperson said: “Safety works are ongoing at the former Ayr Station Hotel building.

"It’s too early to say if demolition will be required. Our immediate priority is to ensure the building is returned to a safe state to allow Station Bridge Road to reopen, and to work with our partners to allow trains to run from Ayr Station as soon as possible.”