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May 20, 2015

Giving away land

Dalrymple has been described as a sleepy Ayrshire village and, as with so many other small towns and rural villages in Scotland, question marks always hover over the community’s long term social and economic sustainability. So when the local landowner took the decision to offer chunks of land to the community for free, the future suddenly started looking a whole lot brighter. Locals are considering a range of options for each of the parcels of land with Dalrymple now being talked about as a potential model rural community.



Euan McCall/Ayrshire Post

A village is looking to a bright new future after being offered huge chunks of land – for free. Lord David Kenney, the Marquis of Ailsa, has offered land from his estates to the people of Dalrymple. And if Dalrymple takes the land – worth tens of thousands of pounds – it could emerge as a model rural community in Ayrshire.

“This is really exciting and positive for Dalrymple,” said Councillor Elaine Dinwoodie.“Cassillis Estate has made the offer to the village. And people are coming up with ideas for how the land could be used for the greater good of everyone.”

A meeting is being held this week in the community centre to further advance ideas. And Councillor Dinwoodie said East Ayrshire Council is happy to help and advise – without interfering in what residents want.

Dalrymple sits six miles outside Ayr, and this new land gift could change the village for good. Leaflets were put through just about every door in the village to tell people about the Wednesday night meeting, at 7pm.

Community councillor Katie McNeillie said a development group has been formed. “Nothing is set in stone,” said Katie. “We’re still looking for ideas, and all suggestions are welcome. Once the village has a set of plans agreed on, we’ll go back to Cassillis Estate. And if they are happy, the land will be released. The land in question is in two key areas – right in the heart of the village, in Barbieston Road, across from the Spar store; and between the school and Purclewan Burn.”

The land in the middle of the village is split into three plots, with four more plots behind the school. Ideas emerging include a natural play area, surrounded by a bike trail, in the middle of the three central plots. And the one closest to the road could be landscaped to improve the look of the village.

 As well as the Dalrymple land, the Marquis of Ailsa’s estate includes the iconic Culzean Castle. The plot closest to the back of the school is likely to be required as the school expands.

And other land there could be used as allotments, both for the school and villagers. Large swathes of land close to the burn tend to get waterlogged. And these may be developed as a wildlife habitat, with access via a raised walkway.

“It’s a wonderful opportunity for the village,” said Katie McNeillie. “Estate factor Chris Savage has been coming to our meetings. And he is taking back some of the positive ideas.”

It’s a crucial time for Dalrymple, as the village could lose ageing facilities like the community centre and library. But it is hoped a community wing at the school will cushion the blow.

Cassillis and Culzean Estates are run by Lord David Kennedy, the ninth Marquess of Ailsa. And they extend for thousands of acres across the north of Carrick. Lord David has spearheaded progressive farming, forestry and conservation on the estate over many years. He became marquess in January, following the sudden death of his elder brother Charles, 58, in Florida.