SRUC tries to sell off Ayrshire campus for second time

SRUC Auchincruive
SRUC Auchincruive

Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC) is attempting to sell off some of its Auchincruive campus in Ayrshire for the second time.

The college first put the east side of the campus up for sale in 2017, but it was taken off the market last year to look at other options for the site.

SRUC principal and chief executive, Professor Wayne Powell, said the college explored community ownership or transferring the land for public use with South Ayrshire Council and other organisation, but neither option was feasible.

“We listened to local stakeholders who wanted us to explore community transfer or options for social housing and other uses,” added Prof Powell.

“Unfortunately, the technical challenges of the site meant that is was not suitable but it was important that we took the time to look at these options.”

He said the decision to sell Auchincruive was part of a long-term strategy to base research and teaching at the Barony campus, near Dumfries, and the college was pursuing partnerships with local colleges and other stakeholders to deliver rural skills training in Ayrshire. Last year SRUC announced a £35 million business case for the south and west of Scotland and a new campus at Barony.

“The reasons behind our decision to sell Auchincruive have not changed since 2017,” added Prof Powell.

“The site costs SRUC around £685,000 a year to maintain and, due to challenges around the site, it would require a significant investment to bring it up to modern standards. As a result, it is clear that the status quo of this site is not financially feasible for SRUC and its maintenance is stifling fresh investment in teaching and research in the south and west of Scotland.”

The sale of Auchincruive will not include the John F Niven Building, which is currently occupied by SAC Consulting, and the disease surveillance centre. All assets from the sale will be reinvested in educational facilities in the south-west.