Appeal launched to save Ayr Station Hotel which inspired Trump's Turnberry

Campaigners Save Britain’s Heritage have called for the “splendid landmark” to be rescued from its owners

Thursday, 27th August 2020, 4:45 pm
Updated Thursday, 27th August 2020, 5:05 pm
The derelict hotel has been served with a dangerous buildings notice because of its poor condition. Picture: N Hackett.
The derelict hotel has been served with a dangerous buildings notice because of its poor condition. Picture: N Hackett.

The move to secure the future of the B-listed building came as South Ayrshire Council launched a three-week consultation on its future.

Built in 1885 in a French chateau cum Scottish baronial style, the hotel has been derelict for seven years.

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Its success prompted the Glasgow and South Western Railway company to build the Turnberry Hotel – now Trump Turnberry – in 1906.

The poor condition of the hotel has prompted plans for new accommodation for rail staff as a first stage towards a new station entrance and ticket office. Picture: Savethestationhotel.

Stars who have performed there have included Billy Connolly and Tom Jones.

The council served a dangerous building notice on the building in 2018.

But when repairs were not made by its Malaysian businessman owner Eng Huat Ung, it imposed an exclusion zone to protect people from the “significant and immediate dangers” caused by the condition of the building.

‘Wrest it from owners’

The hotel is in poor condition with vegetation growing in gutters and walls. Picture: C Hunter.

SAVE Britain’s Heritage executive president Marcus Binney said: “This is a splendid landmark in one of the loveliest resort towns in Scotland.

"A determined effort must be made to wrest it from its owners who cannot be contacted and whose agents do not respond to inquiries.

“Scotland has the strongest and most effective powers in Britain to serve repairs orders and initiate compulsory purchase orders on neglected heritage properties.

"South Ayrshire Council, Historic Environment Scotland and Government ministers must use these powers to put a final stop to decay and start a revival.”

Part of the building is wrapped in protective covering. Picture: G Norris.

The group has called for a two-year grace period to develop a rescue plan.

‘Welcome first step’

It wants to see roof repairs and a phased renovation of the building, floor-by-floor.

The group said Network Rail had taken a “welcome first step” by planning to re-open the station ticket office on the ground floor of the hotel’s north wing after re-locating temporary staff facilities to a new building.

The cost of restoring the hotel was put at £9.95 million last October.

Esther Clark, chair of campaigners Ayr Station Hotel Community Action, said: “A new owner able to invest, conserve and restore the hotel to its former glory but with economically-viable outcomes would be the easiest option for us.

"It would leave a townscape which could be undamaged.

"If not, a smaller hotel with catering facilities for passengers and a range of uses from backpacker accommodation to offices to housing could be considered.”

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