Community group vows to save Ayr Station Hotel

By Hugh Dougherty

A newly-formed community action group has vowed to save Ayr Station Hotel from increasingly likely demolition.

The hotel, built in 1885, to a French renaissance style by the Glasgow & South Western Railway, has lain unused and deteriorating since its Malaysian owner, Eng Huat, closed it in 2010.

Vegetation is growing out of masonry and there are fears that parts of the building could collapse on to the railway station platforms below.

Platform side decay with scaffolding erected by Network Rail to protect trains, passengers and staff from falling masonry. HUGH DOUGHERTY

Now Ayr community activist Esther Davies has organised an ad hoc group, all members of the Kyle and Carrick Civic Society, to push for action to save the Grade B listed building which has been placed on the Scottish Buildings at Risk register.

Esther said: “The hotel building has been allowed to deteriorate alarmingly and Network Rail has had to erect scaffolding at public expense to secure parts of the building to allow trains to run safely into Ayr station which shares space with the hotel.

“There is tremendous community support for saving the historic station hotel, which was once the pride of the Glasgow & South Western Railway and of Ayr. We are actively exploring alternative uses for the building and are also researching how we could achieve a community buyout which would allow for retention and use for community groups as well as the possibility of providing flats.”

Esther also said that if Ayr station and the hotel were restored to exploit the railway heritage of the site, which already houses the G&SWR First World War memorial, it might be possible to approach the Ayrshire Railway Preservation Group, which is based at Dunaskin, to run heritage steam trains into Ayr as a tourist attraction.

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