Call for ur­gency over de­ci­sion on ho­tel’s fu­ture

MSP hits out af­ter trains start rolling again

Ayrshire Post - - News - Stuart Wil­son

A de­ci­sion on the fu­ture of Ayr’s Sta­tion Ho­tel must not be kicked down the road, in­sists an MSP.

Brian Whittle says of­fi­cials must act with more ur­gency than ever fol­low­ing the re­sump­tion of ser­vices south of the town.

The sur­prise call to send trains back on the route to Stran­raer was made by ScotRail bosses on Thursday.

Their de­ci­sion fol­lowed a morn­ing test run on the track be­neath the crum­bling ho­tel.

But South of Scot­land mem­ber, Mr Whittle, warned: “Just be­cause the trains are run­ning again, no- one should feel we can put off mak­ing a de­ci­sion about the Sta­tion Ho­tel’s fu­ture.

“A gen­eral un­will­ing­ness by South Ayrshire Coun­cil and oth­ers to think about the fu­ture of the build­ing were what got us into this mess and I’m not pre­pared to see ac­tion put off again.

“The Sta­tion Ho­tel can’t be al­lowed to sit aban­doned for a minute more than is nec­es­sary to make the de­ci­sion.

“Peo­ple who rely on the rail­way can’t af­ford any more dither­ing and de­lay.”

Work to sta­bilise the B- Listed struc­ture con­tin­ues this week with a scaf­fold­ing be­ing erected.

One source close to the works said: “The roof is a big prob­lem and is nowhere near be­ing tack­led yet.

“It re­mains to be seen what the struc­tural en­gi­neers will want to do but sav­ing it is a very big job.”

Lim­ited ser­vices are now run­ning to Stran­raer for the first time since coun­cil chiefs threw up an ex­clu­sion zone in Au­gust.

Buses will con­tinue to op­er­ate for the ser­vices that haven’t been rein­tro­duced, and for ser­vices be­tween Ayr and Gir­van.

The ex­ist­ing timetable for ser­vices be­tween Ayr and Glas­gow Cen­tral re­mains in place.

Alex Hynes, ScotRail Al­liance man­ag­ing di­rec­tor, said: “We know it has been a chal­leng­ing time for our cus­tomers, so we are pleased to be able to re­store some ser­vices be­tween Ayr and Stran­raer.

“We are work­ing flat out with South Ayrshire Coun­cil and our task force part­ners to get all ser­vices to and from Ayr back to nor­mal as soon as pos­si­ble.”

Bill Reeve, chair of Ayr Sta­tion Task Force, added: “The re­turn of rail pas­sen­ger ser­vices be­tween Stran­raer and Ayr is a wel­come step to­wards re­solv­ing this is­sue.

“While we re­main mind­ful there is still work to be done to re­store the com­plete ser­vice it is good that hard work by both South Ayrshire Coun­cil and the ScotRail Al­liance has now made this first step pos­si­ble.

“The Task Force part­ners con­tinue to work to­gether to en­sure we can bring back a full timetable as quickly as pos­si­ble and we thank busi­nesses, com­muters and the lo­cal com­mu­nity for their con­tin­ued pa­tience while we do.”

MSP Brian Whittle and the wrapped up Sta­tion Ho­tel

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