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Case Studies > Kirklands Farm Redevelopment

Kirkoswald, South Ayrshire

Case Study Kirklands Farm Redevelopment Kirkoswald, South Ayrshire
Case Study Kirklands Farm Redevelopment Kirklands Farm was an Agricultural Holding let on a Full Agricultural Tenancy. The farm extended to just over 155ha (384 Acres) and operated a dairy herd, grew potatoes and grain for many years. The farm steading was within the village boundary of the South Ayrshire Conservation village of Kirkoswald.

In 1999 as a direct result of poor economic returns and combined with a number of other factors, the tenants decided to give up the farm tenancy. The Estate could not address some of the factors (eg proximity to a water course and village) and therefore considered it was unable to re-let the farm on a full agricultural tenancy. The decision was therefore taken to look at the component parts of the farm, explore and optimise opportunities for rural housing, assist neighbours by providing access to more land and to seek out new business opportunities while also strengthening the Estates ‘in hand' farming operations.

Looking back over the past 15 years it is clear that the letting of grassland fields has helped 6 other businesses/neighbours, in particular a young dairy farmer, to grow their business. There has been a small ‘kick about' pitch created for the village children. The 4 houses have been let on Short Assured Tenancy Agreements, providing affordable homes for local people. The former steading was underutilised and as such became a target for vandals and latterly became an eyesore in the Village of Kirkoswald.

In 2014 the decision was taken to carry out a strategic review of the former steading. By now Kirkoswald had a number of attractions operating (including Souters Restaurant, Garden Girls and The Whisky Experience). The local Community Council had recently undertaken a 5 year Action Plan in which they identified 5 priority Themes which included; Tourism Development and Promotion, Village Enhancement and Heritage, amongst others.

Another interesting consideration was the fact that the A77, a major trunk road, carrying a significant volume of Irish bound ferry traffic, runs, though the village and immediately adjacent to the steading at Kirklands. This presented an interesting opportunity, which when coupled with the fact that Turnberry Hotel had just changed ownership and 90 % of the visitors to Turnberry Hotel pass through Kirkoswald, it was important that the Estate did what it could to enhance the attractiveness of the village, while also providing further economic opportunities for itself and local residents/businesses.

A decision was therefore taken by Culzean Estate to renovate Kirklands Steading. Very early on in the process it was apparent that we had a local business, which was keen to expand, but lacked the space and scope to do so on their existing site. It was very clear that the Estate could readily satisfy all of their needs at Kirklands, therefore an interesting, but informal partnership, was formed between the Estate and The Garden Girls. We worked together on a planning application which would see the former steading at Kirklands converted into a Garden Centre, shop and retail outlet, providing car and bus parking while also affording further opportunities for ‘pop up‘ style events, e.g. farmers markets, car boot sales etc. Planning approval was obtained and the soon to be tenants played a considerable role in specifying the layout and finishes to suit their needs. The Garden Centre and retail outlet has been open and operational since October 2016. The tenants themselves have also been looking for funding from Ayrshire LEADER to develop new business opportunities which they have identified to capitalize on the location and their existing business operations.

The second phase of the project is also now nearing completion. The adjacent farmhouse became vacant in December 2016 and in discussion with the Garden Girls, it was agreed that they would take on the Farmhouse and operate it as a high end self-catering accommodation, targeting in particular the many groups of golfers who visit Ayrshire to play some of the many golf courses (including Championship courses) during the summer months. The Estate commissioned an extensive renovation of the farmhouse, using local contractors. Once again with a very close involvement of the prospective tenants to ensure the layout and finishes met with their expectation and requirements, which incorporates many energy efficiency and carbon reduction measures. The tenant’s business has now been rebranded to Kirklands House and Garden and looks set to grow over the coming years and months.

This very small example demonstrates how Cassillis & Culzean Estates listens to and addresses the needs and wishes of the local community; helps and supports local businesses to grow and expand; assists young farmers to grow and expand their businesses; provides employment opportunities directly for contractors and indirectly for tenants; provides a more attractive and inclusive village environment; stimulates wider economic activity; considers the environment and climate change; and provides affordable rural housing.
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