An MSP has suggested that demolishing the Station Hotel could herald the start of a new era for Ayr and other towns in the South West.

Brian Whittle believes the costs involved in saving the hotel might outweigh the benefits and is concerned that further delay in dealing with the structure could mean it could collapse before any viable rescue plan can be put together.

The South Scotland MSP’s comments came in the same week that MSP for the region used her first question in the new parliamentary term to raise concerns about the Station Hotel.

Emma Harper MSP asked the Scottish Government what action was being taken to address the ongoing situation.

Mr Whittle, pictured, said: “I’m the first to admit I don’t want to see the Station Hotel go, but given what we know about its condition, I think we’re past the point of no return. The Station Hotel will be a loss to the town but at the same time it’s been a long time since it was of any meaningful benefit to rail travellers, tourists or local residents.

“Without the Station Hotel, there’s a real opportunity to build something that’s a genuine asset.

"As well as giving rail travellers a comple

tely different first impression of Ayr, we can do more to promote active travel with better facilities for cyclists.

"I’d also like to see a community element in a new building, with space for groups to meet and space dedicated to the history of the Station Hotel.

“Ayr Station is the gateway for visitors to South Ayrshire and right now it couldn’t be giving people a worse impression.

“Whatever the decision on the hotel’s future, it’s time to be bold and build a brighter future for South Ayrshire, rather than throwing good money after bad to cling to the past.”

Ms Harper, who represents South Scotland including Ayr, asked Cabinet Secretary for Transport, Michael Matheson MSP what discussions the

government has had with ScotRail and South Ayrshire Council regarding the implemented exclusion zone.

She also asked if any action could be taken against the building’s owner Mr Ung for not engaging with the local authority over the safety of the property

Mr Matheson said he and Transport Scotland officials had held discussions with officials at South Ayrshire Council and the ScotRail Alliance on several occasions since the exclusion zone has been put in place to find solutions and address immediate safety concerns.

For the latest updates on the Station Hotel saga, check our website and Facebook page throughout the week.