Motion in Scottish Parliament to congratulate Friends of Seafield House

On hearing the news that Seafield House was saved, last week Chic Brodie MSP lodged a motion in the Scottish Parliament to congratulate Friends of Seafield House. The motion was published today in the Motions and Amendments on The Scottish Parliament website.

*S4M-11191 Chic Brodie: Seafield House in Ayr—That the Parliament congratulates the Friends of Seafield House in Ayr on what it understands has been their long battle to save Seafield House, which once owned by Sir William Arrol, considered one of Scotland’s greatest design and civil engineers, and believes that securing the future of the house, which it sees as an outstanding architectural and historical development, is a tribute to all of those involved in this hard fought campaign to save it for Ayr and Scotland.

As of the 28 October, the Motion is now supported by: Angus MacDonald, Kenneth Gibson, Graeme Pearson, Stuart McMillan, Graeme Dey, Rob Gibson, Bill Kidd, Joan McAlpine, Richard Lyle, Mike MacKenzie, Dennis Robertson, Adam Ingram, Anne McTaggart, David Torrance, Kevin Stewart, Gordon MacDonald, Annabelle Ewing, Christian Allard, Gil Paterson, John Scott

Our thanks go to Chic Brodie for this acknowledgement on the success of the campaign.


Friends of Seafield House (FoSH) welcomes the sale of Seafield House and grounds to econstruct design and build, an Ayr-based developer founded by Robin Ghosh. Seafield House is SAVED! The sale was concluded yesterday, Friday 10 October 2014.  Econstruct plan to restore Seafield House as residential apartments and build a small number of new-build houses in the grounds.

We extend our warmest thanks to all those who supported our campaign to SAVE Sir William Arrol’s former home in Ayr. We thank those who became Friends, attended public meetings, visited our exhibitions & posted messages of support on our website/Facebook page & Twitter feed. We thank in particular Marcus Binney, President of SAVE Britain’s Heritage, and his colleagues, who have been the head, heart and soul of our campaign from day one.

A new chapter is opening for Seafield House. We wish Robin Ghosh and his colleagues all success and will support them as they follow through the planning and consents process.

Again, we extend our warmest thanks to all those who supported our campaign to SAVE Seafield House, Sir William Arrol’s former home in Ayr.

Update on Seafield House in the SAVE Summer 2014 newsletter

image of the article on Seafield House from the newsletter

SAVE Newsletter, Summer 2014 – Seafield House article

SAVE Britain’s Heritage continue to provide tremendous support to the Friends of Seafield House and have featured an update on the Seafield House campaign in their Summer 2014 newsletter. The article  covers the neglect of Seafield House, the continued refusal by NHS Ayrshire & Arran of the £1,000 financial assistance SAVE offered towards gutter cleaning, and our hope that the sale will be concluded soon with a sympathetic new owner.

The Summer 2014 newsletter provides updates on SAVE’s ongoing campaigns, including the recent success of their campaign to save Smithfield Market.  Download the full Summer 2014 newsletter from the SAVE website.


Reviewing FoSH activities at the 1st AGM

Thanks to all who turned out for the first Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the Friends of Seafield House (FoSH) on Saturday 17 May 2014 at the Ellisland House Hotel.

photograph of people sitting round tables at the AGM

Members attending 1st FoSH AGM

The meeting started out with FoSH Chair, Rob Close, giving a review of all the activities carried out since it was established in October 2012. It was interesting to review what had been achieved over the last 18 months, including:

  • public meetings and exhibitions, including events marking the centenary of Sir William Arrol’s death
  • debate in the Scottish Parliament on the motion on Scotland’s Historic Houses lodged by Chic Brodie MSP
  • participation in National Science and Engineering Week programmes at Rozelle House in 2013 & 2014
  • continued campaigning to secure the future of Seafield House, liaising with individuals and organisations
  • widespread communication of the campaign via social media and press coverage
  • continued pressure on NHS Ayrshire & Arran to maintain the building

For full details download a copy of the Report of the Management Committee

It was hoped that we would have  been able to announce a positive outcome on the sale of Seafield House at the meeting, but unfortunately, we are still waiting to hear the decision on that from NHS Ayrshire and Arran.

All other business at the meeting was approved and the Management Committee was elected  for another year.

Messages of Support for decision on sale of Seafield House sent to NHS Ayrshire & Arran

Friends of Seafield House (FoSH) have had a great response to their request for messages of support in their call on NHS Ayrshire & Arran to consider not only best price in its decision on offers in the sale of Seafield House. Despite the short timescale we had a tremendous response and are very grateful to those who took the time to write.

The messages, have been forwarded to the Chair and members of the NHS Board and copied to members of the Viability Group before their meeting to make their recommendations on the sale of Seafield House.

Download a pdf of the letter from FoSH requesting messages of support and read the collated responses

Or read the messages of support online. Further messages will be added to the page as they are received.

Offers Received in the Sale of Seafield House: FoSH Seeks Messages of Support

We understand that we are close to the point at which NHS Ayrshire & Arran’s Viability Group will meet to discuss its recommendation on offers received in the sale of Seafield House. We further understand that offers were made. This is a great success given the many years that Seafield House lingered on the market under threat of demolition. The fact that a closing date was set on 11 December last year was a real step forward.

The restoration of Seafield House by way of enabling development is a viable option. With the support of SAVE Britain’s Heritage, FoSH has set out its view is that no offer should be discounted on price alone. FoSH has communicated this to NS Ayrshire & Arran and to members of its Viability Group.

Our grounds for best price not being the only factor are:

  •  neglected state of the building. As the Scottish Historic Environment Policy (SHEP) says clearly:
    A huge investment of money, energy and materials went into these buildings – it would be poor stewardship of this inheritance to neglect it“.
  • blanket TPO
  •  community buyout provision in the Community Empowerment & Renewal Bill that is currently before the Scottish Parliament.

In making this case, we would appreciate you sending us a message of support to that calls on NHS Ayrshire & Arran’s Viability Group to base its recommendation not only on achieving best price but taking account of the neglected state of the building, blanket TPO & provision for community buyout in the Community Empowerment & Renewal Bill that is before the Scottish Parliament. We will collate all messages and send them to NHS Ayrshire & Arran’s Chairman & Chief Executive & to its Viability Group. In addition, we will post messages on a dedicated page on our website, Facebook & add into our Twitter feed.

Many thanks for your support at this critical time in the campaign to SAVE Seafield House.

The Architectural Heritage Society of Scotland publish article on the Seafield House campaign

magazine article

AHSS Autumn 2013 – The Campaign to SAVE Seafield House in Ayr

The Autumn 2013 issue of the Architectural Heritage Society of Scotland (AHSS) magazine featured an article on the Seafield House campaign.  The article was written by our own Rob Close, Chair of the Friends of Seafield House (FoSH), and outlines the importance of Seafield House and the history of the campaign to save it.

The Architectural Heritage Society of Scotland is concerned with the protection, preservation, study and appreciation of Scotland’s buildings and has about 1000 members throughout Scotland and beyond.  Our thanks go to AHSS for publishing the article and the tremendous boost it will give to awareness of our campaign.

Read the AHSS magazine article – The Campaign to SAVE Seafield House in Ayr.

Seafield House campaign features in the SAVE October 2013 newsletter

Article from the SAVE Britain's Heritage October 2013 newsletter featuring an update on the Seafield House Campaign

SAVE Newsletter, October 2013 – Seafield House extract

SAVE Britain’s Heritage continue to provide tremendous support to the Friends of Seafield House.  Further to making Seafield House their building of the month, they have featured an article on the Seafield House campaign in their October 2013 newsletter.  The newsletter provides updates on SAVE’s ongoing campaigns, including Seafield House, and buildings that have been saved, lost or are at risk.

Read the full SAVE newsletter on the SAVE Britain’s Heritage website.

FoSH Public Meeting on Friday 11 October

Find out about recent developments in the campaign to save Seafield House

Friends of Seafield House (FoSH) is marking the approach to the first year of campaigning, together with SAVE Britain’s Heritage, to save Seafield House with a Public Meeting in Ayr on Friday 11 October.

The focus of activity over the past months has been the NHS Trust’s new marketing campaign to sell Seafield House. This new approach could see restoration of Seafield House by way of enabling development. FoSH & SAVE were present at the Developers Open Day last month that formed part of the launch of this new marketing campaign.

Members of the public are invited the meeting where FoSH Chair, Rob Close, and architectural adviser, Patrick Lorimer, will give an illustrated presentation & campaign update followed by an open discussion.  We look forward to seeing all those who can attend the meeting in Ayr and hearing your ideas and suggestions for the campaign and/or would like to renew membership or take out membership of FoSH.

FoSH Public Meeting
Friday 11 October 2013
12:30 – 13:30
The Old Racecourse Hotel, 2 Victoria Park, Ayr KA7 2TR

Download the flier with details of the meeting.

Tea and Coffee will be served at the meeting.

For those who are unable to attend we would still love to hear from you with your ideas via the website Contact page.

SAVE make Seafield House their Building of the Month


SAVE Britain’s Heritage is a campaigning and conservation group championing the cause of endangered historic buildings. SAVE have been firm supporters of Friends of Seafield House from the beginning, offering fantastic support and advice.  We are delighted that, on the back of Ryden’s marketing drive and Developers Open Day, SAVE have featured Seafield House on their website as Building of the Month.

SAVE President Marcus Binney says: “we welcome the NHS trust’s decision to put the house on the market with the focus on restoration by means of enabling development. It is vital that the price sought takes account of the work needed to repair the listed building. The NHS Trust that owns it does not insure it as it has a self-insuring policy. In this case no money at all has been spent on repairs. To achieve a good scheme with a sensitive and a not excessive amount of new build in the grounds, it is vital to acknowledge the need for a scheme which provides the necessary investment in the historic building. It is also vital that in any planning permission the developer is obliged to repair the building at the same time that the first quarter of the development takes place. There should be no prospect of the land being sold off separately for development while the house is left derelict and unrepaired.”