Cost of repairing Girvan town house now £275,000

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The cost of repairing Knockcushan House in Girvan to bring the listed building back into community use has now reached £275,000 after contractors discovered significant areas of dry rot.

On Thursday, June 27 South Ayrshire councillors will be asked to grant additional funding of £140,000 on top of £135,000 already committed to re-open the building.

A report to the full council meeting recommends that councillors agree to the additional funding, £100,000 of which will come from Girvan’s annual regeneration funding of £200,000 and £40,000 from the council’s contingency fund.

At a South Ayrshire Council meeting on 16 December 2010 members agreed to support proposals for a major re-development in relation to tourism, leisure and the overall economy of South Carrick.

A report to councillors states that the development fund was established from the agreed annual revenue funding of £200,000. In the future this revenue funding will be diverted to support the running costs of the leisure facility.

To date this funding has been used to contribute to the development of the pontoons in Girvan Harbour; to upgrade sports facilities including the tennis courts and the running track; to support local festivals; to contribute to the Community Sports Hub and cycling developments; and funding has been set aside to contribute to improvements at Girvan golf clubhouse and to improve town centre shop fronts.

Girvan Community Council approached South Ayrshire Council in November 2011 to discuss the potential to carry out works to Knockcushan House to bring the ground floor of the property back into use as a community facility. Knockcushan House is the original Girvan Townhouse and is seen by the community as an iconic building, and has a hidden garden and aviary to the rear.

Initial discussions identified that there were a number of interested community groups including a music group, and a local church for services.

In addition the Community Council was keen to capitalise on the harbour position of the building by using it as a potential information point for the new leisure facility.

Recent discussions have identified Knockcushan House as a potential location for one of the business incubator facilities agreed by the Leadership Panel in April 2013.

The Council’s Estates Team carried out a survey of Knockcushan House in February 2012 and provided an estimate of costs of £75,000 to carry out essential works and bring the building back into use.

In December 2012, prior to progressing with the tendering exercise, Estates carried out a roof survey of the property and advised that costs were anticipated to be £135,000. It was agreed in consultation with local elected members that the Girvan regeneration funds would cover the cost of this work. Following a tendering exercise a contractor was appointed to carry out the proposed works to the building. On commencement of work and opening up previously concealed areas of the building, the contractor discovered significant areas of dry rot infestation. The remedial work required to address this rot is substantial and requires additional works currently estimated at approximately £140,000 to be undertaken.

Professional advice from the Council’s Estates team is that the additional rot work requires to be done if the building is to re-open, and that this work will ensure the medium term future of the building whilst the leisure facility is developed.

It is proposed that £100,000 of the additional funding required for the project can be found through the Girvan Regeneration monies. It is further proposed that the remaining £40,000 is funded through a draw from the 2013/14 Contingency Fund.

There is currently £159,094 uncommitted funds within this budget and it is proposed to commit £100,000 of this towards the additional £140,000 repair costs of Knockcushan House. It is proposed that the remaining £40,000 be funded through a draw on the Council’s 2013/14 Contingency Fund.