As most Maybole residents will be aware, work has started and is set to continue on the demolition of the old Co-Op building in Whitehall.
Contractor John Jamieson’s firm has been making steady progress and can now report that all the asbestos has now been safely removed from the building.
And the local community council seem to have got their wish to preserve the tiles in the old butcher’s shop due to their historical interest and also because they are part of Maybole’s heritage.
Throughout the many years of discussing this demolition with South Ayrshire Council, Maybole Community Council have consistently mentioned the tiles.
The council’s building control team and Mr Jamieson have taken this on board and are making every effort to safeguard, if possible, these tiles for future generations.
However, the building work has not been without its problems as community council chairman Mark Fletcher explained.
He said: “This is not without its difficulties, not only because the main collapse of the roof on the property was directly over this area but also because of the way the tiles are installed on two inches of extremely hard cement. It’s fair to say they were put up to stay up.”
Mr Fletcher was invited down to the site which has been cleared sufficiently at the rear of the building last week for him to see for himself the area where the tiles are.
Also attending the meeting was Dr Lindsay Lennie, an expert in historic shopconservation. She has a varied background in geography, valuation surveying and building conservation and was offered the rare opportunity to undertake a PhD in Building Conservation at Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh.
After completing her PhD in 2006 she had a unique opportunity of a ResearchFellowship with Technical Conservation Group, Historic Scotland researching the historic shops of Scotland.
Mr Fletcher added: “The contractors will continue to clear the area and let us know the outcome as soon as they can.
“In the meantime, the community council will continue to work with Mr Jamieson, Building Control and Dr Lennie to find a way of removing the tiles, if at all possible.
“There is potentially a cost implication for this work and we will also look at ways of funding that with grants.”
The process of demolishing the building has been a long process.
South Ayrshire gave the go ahead to demolish the building in November when they put the bid out to a tendering process, upon which John Jamieson’s firm were ultimately successful.
That was after Mark Fletcher had raised concerns in September of last year that the building could collapse at any moment.
“This building could fall down at any time.
“Part of the facade collapsed last year, and the A77 had to be closed.
“It should have been demolished by now.
“And the council should have realised it wouldn’t be just a case of swinging a ball at it.
“A building of that age was always likely to contain asbestos. So now they are going to have to shore it up to some extent, in order to safely remove the asbestos.
“We are really concerned about this, as a building in this state creates many risks for people in our community.”
Work is set to continue during the summer months to ensure the demolition of the building.