Mar 23 2012 by Stuart Wilson, Ayrshire Post (main ed)
TO rebuild or not to rebuild.
That is the question – and the Prestwick public now has one month longer to decide.
South Ayrshire Council chiefs have confessed their original schedule was too tight.
And they’ve now extended the deadline for submissions over the thorny issue of Freeman’s Hall.
The controversial exercise is asking residents if they want their steeple back at the iconic building.
But they’ve been told it will come at a cost – and leave nothing in the town’s Common Good Fund.
Members of Prestwick North Community Council helped force the extension for feedback, which was set for March 31.
Chairman Jim Ronney revealed: “This could made a big difference to the outcome of the consultation.
“We felt the original deadline was far too early and would have prevented a lot of people from taking part.
“You might only have got 25 per cent of the response you’ll now get, and that would have been unacceptable.”
The community council has set up an information day for residents to learn more about the proposals being put before them.
And they’ll bid to people in the picture on Thursday, April 19 at the town’s 65 Club between 12 noon and 4pm.
Jim added: “We’re also looking to have a night at Prestwick Academy and there will be facilities for people to fill in their feedback forms.”
The public now has until April 30 to submit their choice of options for the steeple, which was removed in February 2011 due to safety concerns.
The council has given consideration to a number of options for replacing the steeple, which range from a total rebuild to placing a flat roof on top of the building.
Freeman’s Hall is maintained through the Prestwick Common Good Fund and residents have been warned that a full rebuild would leave no cash for duties like grass cutting on the town’s esplanade.
A spokesman confirmed: “Some options will have a greater impact on the Prestwick Common Good Fund than others and a reduction in the fund will reduce the amount of investment the council can make in other Prestwick common good assets, such as the seafront area, including grass cutting, seasonal planting and storm damage repairs.”
Residents can complete the online feedback form at www.south-ayrshire.gov.uk/freemanshall or by emailing their first, second and third choices for replacement work and any other views to: FreemansHall@south-ayrshire.gov.uk
They can also write to: Freeman’s Hall Consultation, South Ayrshire Council, FREEPOST NAT7733, AYR, KA7 1BR.