A section of the damaged Ayr Station Hotel structure may need to be removed as safety works are pushed back, according to South Ayrshire Council (SAC).

The local authority has been continuing to carry out safety work on the fire-stricken building.

It was announced early in the year that work on the southern section of the hotel would continue until at least March.

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However, that date has now been pushed back until at least April.

The hotel was ravaged by fire in September, with safety work taking place on the site since.

South Ayrshire Council says a full assessment of the clock tower and northern section of the Victorian building - which dates back to 1886 - will be carried out once the southern end has been made safe.

As part of the work to make this section safe, SAC says "badly burnt" and "severely damaged" sections of the clock tower structure were discovered.

This, they say, may lead to part of the structure being removed.

A South Ayrshire Council spokesperson said: "As we near completion of work at the southern part of the building, we have been able to carry out a more detailed structural inspection of the northern section. 

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"During a recent survey of the tower, badly burnt floor joists and a severely damaged wooden supporting beam were discovered.

"The damaged beam is one of the main structural supports for the tower, which means that part of this structure may need to be removed. 

"Further investigation is required, however this discovery will have an impact on the completion date of the safety works, which we now expect to be into April."

Three boys, two aged 13 and one aged 17, were arrested in connection with the fire in the days following the blaze.

Train services to and from Ayr remain severely disrupted as a result of the damage to the structure of the former hotel, with a shuttle service operating between Ayr and Prestwick Town to connect with onward services to and from Glasgow Central, and buses replacing trains between Ayr and Kilmarnock and between Ayr, Girvan and Stranraer.