South Ayrshire

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South Ayrshire
Sooth Ayrshire
Siorrachd Inbhir Àir a Deas'
South Ayrshire in Scotland.svg
Coat of arms of South AyrshireSooth AyrshireSiorrachd Inbhir Àir a Deas'
Coat of arms
Official logo of South AyrshireSooth AyrshireSiorrachd Inbhir Àir a Deas'
Coordinates: 55°17′N 4°42′W / 55.283°N 4.700°W / 55.283; -4.700Coordinates: 55°17′N 4°42′W / 55.283°N 4.700°W / 55.283; -4.700
Admin HQ County Buildings, Ayr
 • Body South Ayrshire Council
 • Control SNP + Lab + Ind (council NOC)
 • MPs
 • MSPs
 • Total 471 sq mi (1,221 km2)
Area rank Ranked 15th
Population (mid-2016 est.)
 • Total 112,500
 • Rank Ranked 19th
 • Density 240/sq mi (92/km2)
ONS code S12000028
ISO 3166 code GB-SAY

South Ayrshire (Scots: Sooth Ayrshire; Scottish Gaelic: Siorrachd Inbhir Àir a Deas, pronounced [ʃirˠəxk iɲiˈɾʲaːɾʲ ə tʲes̪]) is one of thirty-two council areas of Scotland, covering the southern part of Ayrshire. It borders onto Dumfries and Galloway, East Ayrshire and North Ayrshire. Prior to 2017, the Conservative Party led a minority administration in South Ayrshire, with Bill McIntosh as Leader of the Council and Labour's Helen Moonie as Provost, working within a partnership agreement with the Labour Party, supported by both Independents. Following the election, Labour and the Scottish National Party announced an agreement to control the council, again supported by both independents, despite the fact that the Conservatives emerged as the largest party on the council with an increased majority,[1][2] with the SNP's Douglas Campbell serving as Leader of the Council and Labour's Helen Moonie returning as Provost.[3]

History and creation[edit]

The administrative boundaries were formed in 1996 as a direct successor to the Kyle and Carrick district council area, with the district of Dalmellington - located along the south-east of Kyle and Carrick - being transferred over to the newly formed East Ayrshire Council area. South Ayrshire's Headquarters, "County Buildings", are located in Wellington Square, Ayr. The buildings were built in 1931 on the site of Ayr Jail and opened by King George VI. At the front of the buildings is Ayr Sheriff Court which was built as the original county buildings in 1822.

Towns and villages[edit]

Ayr is the largest settlement within South Ayrshire in terms of both area and population
Troon, after Ayr, is one of South Ayrshire's largest settlements in terms of population and a major tourist attraction, attracting visitors to it's beaches and golf courses

South Ayrshire's population is mostly concentrated around the adjoining coastal towns of Ayr, Prestwick and Troon located to the north-west of the council, which represents 68% of the council's total population according to data derived from the 2011 census, with a combined population of 76,846. Other areas of significance include the towns of Maybole and Girvan which are located to the south of the council area in the district of Carrick.

A list of settlements in South Ayrshire may be found below:


Villages and Hamlets[edit]

Places of interest[edit]

Educational and children's services[edit]

Marr College and Prestwick Academy are two examples of South Ayrshire's historic and modern school estates. Marr College has undergone a period of extension and refurbishment throughout 2016-2017 whilst preserving the original historic building

Educational provision in South Ayrshire is offered via eight secondary schools, forty-one primary schools, two special needs schools and five stand alone Early Years Centre's (although some primary schools have Early Years Centre's attached).[4][5] In terms of early years provision, there are also a number of private establishments which are operated in conjunction with South Ayrshire Council, rather than managed and operated entirely by the council.[6] Based on figures from the 2016-2017 academic year, within South Ayrshire, there were 6,091 secondary school aged pupils,[7] 7,855 primary school aged pupils[8] and 251 pupils attending special educational needs provision establishments.[9]

South Ayrshire Council owns, operates and managed out of school care provision for children aged 3-14 years, taking children from early years, primary and the first few years of secondary school provision.[10] Educational Services within South Ayrshire Council, which is currently managed by Douglas Hutchinson, is responsible for all aspects of educational provision within the authority, including primary, secondary, early years, out of school care, creche services, pupil attainment, behaviour, behaviour management strategies and pupil welfare.[11]

Across South Ayrshire, a number of schools have either undergone a period of extensive refurbishment or complete rebuilding. In the wake of the Grenfell Tower fire in June 2017, in July 2017 it was highlighted that three schools within South Ayrshire - Marr College, Ayr Academy and Dalmilling Primary, were cladded with the same cladding that caused the wide spread of the fire at Grenfell Tower which is lead to speculate why the fire was able to spread so quickly. Due to the low rise nature of the school building, South Ayrshire has issued a statement in which it states it is "fully confident" in the structure and design of the schools, and that the cladding used meets the strict fire restrictions used in building and planning operations in Scotland, further highlighting that all schools are fitted with enhanced fire prevention equipment such as sprinkler systems, fire alarms and vigorous fire evacuation procedures, in which Grenfell Tower did not.[12]

Early Years Centres[edit]

Primary Schools[edit]


Secondary schools[edit]


Special schools[edit]

  • Invergarven School
  • Southcraig School

Out of School Care Clubs[edit]

  • Coylton Care Club
  • Dundonald Care Club
  • Muirhead Care Club
  • Mossblown Care Club
  • Symington Care Club

Independent school[edit]

Wellington School is an independent day school located in Ayr which provides primary and secondary education for those living in Ayrshire. It is not operated by South Ayrshire Council.

Further and higher education[edit]

Although not operated or managed by South Ayrshire Council, the region is home to one college, and one university, both of which are located in the Dam Park area of Ayr.


South Ayrshire
Leader of the Council
Douglas Campbell, SNP
Since 4 May 2017
Deputy Leader of the Council
Brian McGinley, Labour
Since 4 May 2017
Helen Moonie, Labour
Since 3 May 2012
Seats 28 councillors
12 / 28
9 / 28
5 / 28
2 / 28
Single transferable vote
Last election
4 May 2017
Meeting place
County buildings.jpg
County Buildings, Wellington Square, Ayr

Local Government[edit]

Party Members
1995 1999 2003 2007 2012 2017
Conservative 4 13 15 12 10 12
SNP 0 0 0 8 9 9
Labour 21 17 15 9 9 5
Independent 0 0 0 1 2 2

† denotes an election held under the first-past-the-post electoral system. Elections held after this point were conducted under the single transferable vote, a form of proportional representation allowing for fairer representation of minority parties.

Councillor composition[edit]

The council has 28 councillors, elected in 8 multi-member wards by single transferable vote. A list of South Ayrshire councillors may be found below, sorted by political party:

  • Conservative (12): Ian Campbell, Peter Convery, Ian Davis, Martin Dowey, Ian Fitzsimmons, Hugh Hunter, Mary Kilpatrick, Lee Lyons, Darek McCabe, Bob Pollok, Arthur Spurling and Margaret Toner.
  • Scottish National Party (9): Laura Brennan-Whitefield, Siobhian Brown, Douglas Campbell, Ian Cochrane, Chris Cullen, Julie Dettbarn, William Grant, Peter Henderson and Craig Mackay.
  • Labour (5): Andy Campbell, Ian Cavana, Brian McGinley, Helen Moonie and Philip Saxton
  • Independent (2): Alec Clark and Brian Connolly.

The 2017 elections resulted in the following representation:

Ward Members Representation
1. Troon 4 2xCON 1xSNP 1xLAB
2. Prestwick 4 2xCON 1xSNP 1xLAB
3. Ayr North 4 2xSNP 1xCON 1xLAB
4. Ayr East 3 1xCON 1xSNP 1xLAB
5. Ayr West 4 3xCON 1xSNP
6. Kyle 3 1xCON 1xSNP 1xLAB
7. Maybole, North Carrick and Coylton 3 1xCON 1xSNP 1xIND
8. Girvan and South Carrick 3 1xIND 1xCON 1xSNP

UK Parliament[edit]

South Ayrshire forms part of two UK Parliamentary constituencies, listed below:

Constituency Member Party Notes
Ayr, Carrick and Cumnock Bill Grant Conservative Covering Ayr, Carrick and Coylton, alongside Cumnock and Doon Valley in East Ayrshire.
Central Ayrshire Philippa Whitford SNP Covering Prestwick, Troon and Kyle, alongside Irvine and south-east Kilwinning in North Ayrshire

Scottish Parliament[edit]

Constituency MSPs[edit]

Declaration of election results for the Ayr constituency at the 2016 Scottish Parliament election.

South Ayrshire forms part of two Scottish Parliamentary constituency seats, listed below:

Constituency Member Party Notes
Ayr John Scott Conservative Covering Ayr, Prestwick and Troon.
Carrick, Cumnock and Doon Valley Jeane Freeman SNP Covering Kyle and Carrick outside of Ayr, Prestwick and Troon, alongside Ballochmyle, Cumnock and Doon Valley in East Ayrshire.

Regional List MSPs[edit]

As part of the South Scotland electoral region, South Ayrshire is represented by 7 regional MSPs who are elected to represent the entire South Scotland region – all regional list MSPs elected for the South Scotland region are listed below:

Constituency Member Party
South Scotland Joan McAlpine Scottish National
Emma Harper Scottish National
Paul Wheelhouse Scottish National
Rachel Hamilton Conservative
Brian Whittle Conservative
Claudia Beamish Labour
Colin Smyth Labour

Scottish independence referendum[edit]

At the 2014 Scottish independence referendum South Ayrshire rejected independence by an above-average margin of 57.9% "No" to 42.1% "Yes". With a turnout of 86.1%, there were 34,402 "Yes" votes and 47,247 "No" votes. Nationally 55.3% of voters voted "No" in the referendum compared to 44.7%, who voted "Yes" – resulting in Scotland remaining a devolved part of the United Kingdom.[13]

European Union membership referendum[edit]

At the 2016 United Kingdom European Union membership referendum a majority of voters in South Ayrshire voted for the United Kingdom to remain a member of the European Union (EU), with 59% of voters in South Ayrshire voting for the United Kingdom to remain a member of the EU and 41% voting for the United Kingdom to leave the European Union. With a turnout of 69.8%, 36,265 votes were cast for remain and 25,241 were cast for leave. Nationally, 62% of Scottish voters voted remain whilst 38% voted leave, with 51.8% of voters in the United Kingdom as a whole voting to leave and 48.2% voting to remain.

Previous elections[edit]

The council elections in May 2003 resulted in a "hung" council where both the Labour Party and the Conservative Party had 15 seats. Control of the council was nominally given to the Labour party after a "cutting of the cards", though such an unstable arrangement had a detrimental effect on the decision-making process.[14] In November 2005 the leader of the Labour group Andy Hill resigned on the grounds of ill-health,[15] allowing the Conservatives to govern with a 15–14 majority until the 2007 election. Gibson MacDonald became Leader of the Council with Robin Reid as Deputy Leader.


External links[edit]