The redevelopment of the Arran Mall and Hourstons building in Ayr is one step closer.

Phase one of the project will see detailed designs drawn up to show how the South Ayrshire Health and Social Care Partnership (SAHSCP) and NHS Ayrshire & Arran can be accommodated within the former Hourstons building.

As sole funder of the project, South Ayrshire Council will spend £20million on phase one which will see around 2,600m2 of floorspace within the former department store allocated for offices, as well as some healthcare services.

An additional £2m will be used for the demolition of the Arran Mall and buildings to the rear of the former Hourstons.

This would allow access to another 3,200m2 of space, which could be used to provide a housing-based living well village in later phases of the project.

Councillor Martin Kilbride, Buildings, Housing and Environment Portfolio Holder, said: "I am delighted that progress is being made on this landmark project.

"Now that the Arran Mall has been bought, it's full steam ahead to get a demolition survey in place and Listed Building Consent secured.

"This consent is needed as we intend to keep the front of the building, which is really impressive."

Councillor Lee Lyons, Health and Social Care Portfolio Holder, said:" Removing the Arran Mall will allow the redevelopment of the Hourstons building to proceed and will also mean expansion of the living well village in the future.

"In the meantime, we will continue to work with the SAHSCP and NHS Ayrshire & Arran to ensure the project meets all of their healthcare and staffing needs, as well as their servicing requirements."