Works to demolish sections of Ayr’s former Station hotel are set to be completed by the summer, council bosses say.

South Ayrshire Council has confirmed the building's tower and half of the northern section at the town's railway station will be taken down as part of safety works being carried out.

They estimate the works will take around nine weeks, with a completion date of 17 June targeted.

A devastating fire tore through the building in September 2023 that saw fire crews tackle the blaze for hours. Three teenagers were arrested and charged in connection with the fire-raising, but the incident appeared to put the final nail in the coffin for the 130-year-old building that has long been the centre of controversy in Ayr.

The decision to continue with its demolition comes following the conclusion of a number of structural inspections on the tower and northern half of the building.

Council bosses say 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.

Councillor Martin Dowey, Leader of South Ayrshire Council, said: “I am pleased we now have a way forward. Given the extent of the damage to the northern section, we need to put public safety first. This means that the tower and half of the northern section of the building needs to come down.

“I know that this has been a frustrating time for rail users and the travelling public, and it’s always been our priority to work with partners, Network Rail and ScotRail, to get the station operational again as soon as possible. Removing most of the brickwork means our safety works will be complete and our partners will be able to make progress around the reopening of the railway station.

At the trackside of the building, the walls will still need to be removed by hand in order to protect the railway, however at the Smith Street side, machinery will be used to speed up the operation.


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The Herald: Ayr Station Hotel fireWith train services badly impacted south of Ayr, this announcement comes after First Minister Humza Yousaf admitted the lack of direct rail links is hurting Ayr's economy.

He said: "The Station Hotel has been a major issue, not just because of the fire but because of the effect on the rail service.

"I know there's continued conversation going on with the council. If we can get the building demolished, we can get the rail services back running.”

Now the demolition works are set to continue and rail bosses are welcoming the news.

David Lister, ScotRail Safety & Sustainability Director, said: “Now have a timeframe for South Ayrshire Council completing the work, and it will bring us a step closer to restoring services for customers.

“When the buildings are safe, and Network Rail has 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 next weekend.”