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Article by Stuart Wilson of the Ayrshire Post

HE’S the politician who’s re- writing history. And the very future of Scotland will lie in the hands its charismatic leader, Alex Salmond. Now the country’s First Minister wants South Ayrshire to play a key part in his bold new Scotland. Mr Salmond insists he will make the most of the region’s untapped potential during the coming years. And, during an interview with the Post, he revealed his hopes and dreams for some of the area’s key facilities. Scotland’s leader sat down with Stuart Wilson to outline his vision – and every base was covered.

Mr Salmond spoke candidly of his views on the Gaiety Theatre, revealed his dream to provide a bypass for Maybole – and confessed his wish to rename Prestwick Airport, Robert Burns International. The First Minister also outlined his commitment to keeping accident and emergency services at Ayr, while studying plans for further investment at Crosshouse. Rarely has Scotland’s main man spoken so openly about his plans for South Ayrshire. Until now.

GOVERNMENTS have come and gone – and still the problem exists. The lack of a bypass in Maybole remains high on the agenda for the people of South Ayrshire. And Scotland’s First Minister insists he wants to do something about it. Mr Salmond said: “We are very aware of the position in Maybole. “It is a road which I personally travel on a lot and the route is of key strategic importance for the new ferry terminal at Cairnryan. “But we’ve suffered from a 40 per cent cut in our capital budget and that makes things more difficult than we’d like when it comes to investment on matters such as this. “However, make no mistake, we are acutely aware of the ongoing issues in Maybole and realise that it is crying out for a bypass. “It remains an issue which we are very keen to address and will look at all possible ways of doing so.”

SOUTH Ayrshire is Scotland’s tourism mecca. So says Mr Salmond, who insists the region attracts global interest wherever he goes. The First Minister revealed: “I honestly think this area has so much untapped potential. “You look around and this is a stunningly beautiful part of Scotland. “A large degree of the tourist trade is built around Robert Burns, but there is so much more on offer in this part of the world. “It’s somewhere that draws visitors from around the world – and that’s not an easy thing to do. “My dream is to have hundreds of thousands of tourists flying into South Ayrshire from all four corners of the earth. “They will arrive at Prestwick Airport, which will be have been renamed to Robert Burns International. “They can then travel on a Maybole bypass and enjoy everything this rich area has to offer. “It’s also an area of great success when you think about the aerospace culture and everything being produced in this part of the world. “I really look to South Ayrshire as something of a tourism mecca of Scotland and it we must make the most of its many wonderful attractions.”


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