Council leader insists return of airshow is on the right track

Conservative council leader Martin Dowey had revealed that he was looking to bring back.

South Ayrshire council leader insists return of airshow is on the right track iStock

South Ayrshire group’s Labour leader has questioned the council’s approach to bringing back an airshow to Ayr next year.

Conservative council leader Martin Dowey had recently revealed that he was looking to bring back the show next September, having made a pledge in the party’s local election manifesto.

He said: “The event will undoubtedly attract visitors from far and wide and put the area on the map, helping to boost our profile as a tourist destination.

“I’m keen to move forward with arrangements as quickly as possible and we’re currently working on procuring a strategic partner to help us get this thrilling event off the ground.”

But at a special meeting of South Ayrshire Council on Friday, Labour’s Brian McGinley questioned whether enough work had been carried out to assess the merits of an airshow.

He said: “Considering the recent cabinet decision to procure and operate an airshow next year, please advise the nature and extent of the due diligence on which this decision was made.”

Cllr McGinley also asked Cllr Dowey for details about health and safety assessments, the economic impact, whether the council had the ‘skills and capacity’ to deliver the event, and the issue of environmental sustainability.

In a written response, Cllr Dowey said: “The council has experience over many years of delivering successful outdoor events and festivals.

“However we do recognise that delivering the aeronautical element of the event will require particular skills and experience and on that basis, are looking to procure a strategic partner who will work with us to deliver the air show.

“The appropriate governance structures will also be put in place with relevant partners, to ensure all health and safety considerations are in place and appropriate consultations are undertaken.

“We will be carrying out a full economic impact assessment and will work to ensure that all environmental and sustainability issues will be addressed appropriately.”

Cllr McGinley followed up his question, saying: “Given there hasn’t been any work done on the economic impact or environmental sustainability, is that not like putting the cart before the horse?  And if we don’t get a strategic partner is there a plan B?

Cllr Dowey responded that the project was with procurement.

He said: “Once a decision is made with a preferred bidder there will be a full update to council . There are a number of bidders for this.”

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