Demolition of the Old Co Op
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 Tile from the Co op building in Whitehall

Most people in Maybole should now be aware that the demolition of the old Co-op building in Whitehall has started. Contactor John Jamieson's firm is making steady progress and all the asbestos has now been safely removed.

The local community council, throughout the many years of discussing this demolition with South Ayrshire Council, has always stressed the importance of trying to preserve the tiles in the old butcher's shop because of their historical interest and also because they are part of Maybole. The council's Building Control team and Mr Jamieson have taken this on board and are making every effort to safeguard, if possible, these tiles for future generations.

Community Council chairman, Mark Fletcher said last week, "However, this is not without its difficulties, not only because the main collapse of the roof on the property was directly over this area but also because of the way the tiles are installed on two inches of extremely hard cement. It's fair to say they were put up to stay up.

Last week, Mr Fletcher was invited to the site, which has now been cleared sufficiently from the rear of the building, to see the area where the tiles are. He added, "Hopefully, you can see from the photos the condition of the collapse and appreciate the difficulties the contractor faces in clearing this area to allow safe access to even attempt removal."

Also attending the meeting was Dr Lindsay Lennie, an expert in historic shop conservation. She has a varied background in geography, valuation surveying and building conservation and was offered the rare opportunity to undertake a PhD in Building Conservation at Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh. After completing her PhD in 2006 she had a unique opportunity of a Research Fellowship with Technical Conservation Group, Historic Scotland researching the historic shops of Scotland.

Mr Fletcher concluded, "The contractors will continue to clear the area and let us know the outcome as soon as they can. "In the meantime, the community council will continue to work with Mr Jamieson, Building Control and Dr Lennie to find a way of removing the tiles, if at all possible. There is potentially a cost implication for this work and we will also look at ways of funding that with grants." (See article about the preservation of the tiles and exhibit in the Carrick Centre)