Significant developments have been made by Ailsa Horizons this week in their plans to transform Girvan’s old Davidson Hospital into a business enterprise centre.
The Dalrymple Street based social enterprise have lodged plans with South Ayrshire Council’s planning department to officially change the use of the building which will open it up for business office space.
Ailsa Horizons plans also include turning part of the old hopsital into a childcare facility with the total cost of the plans including their purchase of the building costing close to £2m.
And with that in mind, Horizons have sent off a stage two application for funding to the Heritage Enterprise Fund which they hope will net them almost £1.4m to help restore the building in The Avenue.
The social enterprise’s CEO Stuart Lindsay says Ailsa Horizons are working with close to 30 different groups in terms of projects and funding through a service level agreement but their plans for the Davidson is where his main focus is.
He said: “The Davidson is a major project and we are pleased to have taken this step to put in the planning application.
“We have been getting positive feedback from the planners at each stage, so I’m hopeful it will gain approval.
“We’ve also been working hard on our application to the Heritage Enterprise Fund.
“We got passed the stage 1 application process and HEF seemed to like what we were doing in terms of bringing a historic building back into use so we have been developing our plans with architects and consultants.
“We did have plans to bring the day hospital into our stage two application but we were advised that this would see the costs more than double and not be in line with what the HEF are looking for
“So the day hospital wasn’t included in the plans submitted on Friday.
“A decision is expected either way by mid September so fingers crossed.”
If successful the building is due to open as an enterprise centre in the Spring of 2017 and Stuart says tentative talks have taken place with potential tenants.
“Some discussions have taken place with potential tenants.
“We are looking to get so-called anchor tenants in who will be there for the long-term as well as having rolling business programmes which will help businesses start-up and then allow them to move on.
“This will be a boost for inward investment and employment in the town and our conservative estimate is that it will provide for 50 new jobs which is boosted to 70 when the construction work takes place.
“Our focus right now is on ensuring we get the match fundraising to tie in with the HEF application.
“Getting £400,000 won’t be an easy task but we have been looking at charitable trusts and have now come up with a shortlist of potential funders who we’ll send applications to until around the end of this year which is why the facility won’t open until Spring 2017.”
The Davidson Hospital was closed in 2010 with facilities transferred to the new Girvan Community Hospital on the outskirts of the town, with Ailsa Horizons spending recent years formulating a plan to bring it back into used.