Cheese facility plans for Crosshill church hall

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Plans have been unveiled to transform a Crosshill church hall into an artisan cheese-making facility.

Ebenezer Gospel Hall in Kirkmichael Road, could become a cheese factory if South Ayrshire Council gives planning permission.

Alistair and Caroline Frost, of Dalhowan Street, hope to have the facility up and running by mid to late 2018 if their proposals get the go-ahead by the local authority.

The plans have been drawn up by Ayr-based LMA Architects and would see the outside of the property remain unchanged.

The current kitchen would also remain, however, and the main hall would be turned into the main production space with the removal of the stage.

The building was listed on commercial property finding website, Novaloca, for offers over £20,000.

Mr Frost, who runs his own auto-electrical car business, said: “We have bought Ebenezer Hall with a view to turn it into an artisan cheese manufacturing facility.

“It’s going to be a fairly long-term plan as we are both working just now so I’m anticipating our target time for opening and starting manufacturing will probably be mid to late next year.

“Initially it will be myself and Caroline working there, particularly Caroline, who will be involved in the cheese production.

“I’ll be more involved in taking care of the facility, getting it ready and putting in the equipment for cheese making, while she will be involved more in the manufacturing.

“If it takes off and there is the demand and market for this, then we would certainly be looking to employ staff but that’s all very long term as it will take quite a long time to get things up and running.

“There’s a lot of work to be done regarding the conversion which is needed, however the inside and the outside of the building will remain exactly as is at the moment other than basic maintenance.

“It is in a conservation area so we are keen to keep it looking exactly as it does just now and we are keen to fit with the local community.

“We have been here 17 years now and we feel this is going to benefit the local community.”

The couple would join Maybole-based Barwheys Dairy, which launched its first product in 2011, in keeping South Ayrshire on the culinary map by producing craft cheeses.

While that company successfully hand-produces 45 truckles of cheese each week, it is still too early to say how much cheese could be produced at Crosshill.

The plans were submitted to South Ayr Council at the start of the month by LMA Architects.

The architect firm also has plans for the conversion of Trinity Church in North Ayrhsire’s Beith to a bespoke wedding venue and boutique hotel for JNS Hotels.