Dec 25 2009 by Stuart Wilson, Ayrshire Post (main ed)
THE CIVIC Theatre will be demolished – and councillors are delighted to see the back of it.
That was the surprise message from members who voted to raze the iconic building to the ground.
As the Post revealed last week, South Ayrshire Council will splash out more than £100,000 to send in the heavy artillery.
And they’ll fork out another £18,000 on landscaping the site while a decision is made on what to do next.
But despite the tough economic times, councillors seemed happy to applaud the mega-money move.
Tory councillor Bill Grant insisted: “I’m delighted that we’re taking this step.
“I hope it proves to be the beginning of a new attitude towards buildings such as the Civic that have lain derelict for many years.
“The sad thing is this town used to have three theatres and now it has none, but I hope very much to see the key turned on the Gaiety once again.”
Councillor Douglas Campbell joined the chorus of praise in support of demolition.
He said: “I welcome the process of demolishing properties that are needlessly costing us money.
“We have to start rationalising our property base.”
But the high cost of bringing down the historic theatre has raised eyebrows.
And some councillors are not convinced that demolition is the answer – especially when the future of the site is undecided.
Independent Elaine Little confessed: “I must admit I have concerns about demolishing on a site when we have no idea about its future.
“Surely there’s the potential for community groups who may want to use the theatre.
“It just seems very sad to demolish it and move on.”
But the decision was passed at a full meeting of South Ayrshire Council, and work will begin next year on bringing down the theatre, which has stood since 1901.
The site is in line for a major revamp, with plans afoot for either housing or an extended roundabout.