The director of a built heritage campaign group has voiced concern at the decision to demolish more of the fire-scarred Station Hotel building in Ayr on safety grounds.

Henrietta Billings, from SAVE Britain's Heritage, has also called for major reform of the legislation to protect Scotland's listed buildings.

South Ayrshire Council announced on April 12 that the remainder of the building's tower, and half of the northern section of the building, needs to be taken down to protect the public.

The damage caused by last September's fire has already forced the demolition of the southern section of the building, which was worst affected by the blaze.

The decision to pull down more of the building comes after the local authority said in March that safety inspectors had discovered more structural damage in the northern section of the structure.

Demolition of the tower and half of the northern section would leave just a small part of the original building, which dates from 1885, still standing.

SAVE Britain's Heritage have joined forces with local campaigners in a bid to save what they describe as a historic building in the town centre.

Ayr Advertiser: Ayr's Station Hotel

Ms Billings said: “We remain concerned at the apparent opaque process and decision-making surrounding the loss of the B-listed Station Hotel on the grounds of safety.

“We fully recognise the paramount importance of making dangerous buildings safe, and the urgent need to reopen the rail line.

"But since the Station Hotel is a listed building, the council are obliged under Scottish law to consider all other options to make the building safe and to limit any demolition to the absolute minimum necessary to keep the public safe.

“Back in November, the eminent conservation-accredited structural engineer Ed Morton advised the council of an alternative method of propping up the south gable, that would have addressed safety concerns, could have avoided major demolition, and could have allowed Station Road to reopen sooner.

READ MORE: First Minister urges demolition of Station Hotel to get rail services back on track

"The council have never confirmed whether this advice was considered or explored. Nor have they had to publish the advice they are relying on.

"This case highlights that major reform is needed of the legislation protecting listed buildings in Scotland.”

However, rail chiefs and council officials insist further demolition is the only solution.

Ayr Advertiser: Ayr's Station Hotel

South Ayrshire Council says the additional demolition works are expected to take a total of nine weeks, which means they should be complete by June 17.

It's hoped that direct trains linking Ayr with Glasgow, Kilmarnock, Girvan and Stranraer will be able to resume once the work is complete.

The council said the decision followed the conclusion of a number of structural inspections on the tower and northern half of the building.

These inspections revealed extensive fire damage to supporting structural elements, which means these parts of the building can’t remain without serious risk to public safety.

Simon Constable, operations director for Network Rail Scotland, said: “As soon as it is safe to do so, our engineers will inspect our infrastructure for any damage caused by the fire and we will re-open the railway as soon as we can for our customers.”

David Lister, ScotRail's safety and sustainability director, said: “When the buildings are safe, and Network Rail have inspected the railway lines as safe to operate on, we will be able to start the process of reintroducing our trains on the route.

“Until then, we are doing everything we can to help keep customers moving, which includes providing buses for the Scottish Grand National this weekend.”