Apr 6 2012 by Lisa Boyle, Ayrshire Post (main ed)
Council to save thousands thanks to Prestwick man’s steeple offer.
A TOP engineer has offered his services for free in a bid to reinstate the Freeman’s Steeple.
Neil McColm, a chartered structural and civil engineer and architectural technician, will save South Ayrshire taxpayers thousands of pounds if the council take him up on his no-strings-attached offer.
The 35-year-old dad explained: “I’ve lived in Prestwick all of my life and I want to give something back to the community I love.
“I made the offer through the consultation document but I haven’t heard back from the council yet.”
The steeple of the Freeman’s Hall in Prestwick was removed more than a year ago over safety fears.
And the public are currently being consulted on the future of the historic building.
But council chiefs say that if they rebuild the steeple, funded through the Common Good Fund, it will leave no cash for essentials like grass-cutting on the esplanade.
Neil was the man behind the initial drawings for the options in the consultation. At the time he worked for FLN Consulting Engineers but has since set up his own firm.
Neil, who has more than 15 years of experience, has also worked for McLay Collier and partners in Glasgow.
He explained what he is proposing: “The drawings that have been done so far are outline drawings, they are not very technical.
“The council will require structural and architectural drawings for planning permission, a building warrant and listed building consent.
“I’m offering to give them a detailed package to achieve all of that.”
The cost of that service would normally run into several thousand pounds, but Neil is willing to waive the fee if it means Freeman’s Hall will be returned to its former glory.
Jim Ronney, chair of Prestwick North Community Council, is delighted at the news.
He said: “This is a brilliant gesture from Mr McColm and will save a lot of money, it’s fantastic news.
“It is indicative of how strongly the Prestwick people want the steeple back and what a great community it is.”
The public has until April 30 to submit their choice of options for the steeple.
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.
For more information on McColm Consulting Ltd, email email@example.com