South Ayrshire

South Ayrshire
Sooth Ayrshire
Siorrachd Inbhir Àir a Deas

Coat of arms

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 Ayr
  Body South Ayrshire Council
  Control Con + Lab + Ind (council NOC)
  Total 472 sq mi (1,222 km2)
Area rank Ranked 15th
Population (2010 est.)
  Total 113,000
  Rank Ranked 18th
  Density 240/sq mi (91/km2)
ONS code 00RE
ISO 3166 code GB-SAY
South Ayrshire
Seats 30 councillors
10 / 30
9 / 30
9 / 30
2 / 30
0 / 30
Single transferable vote
Last election
3 May 2012

South Ayrshire (Scots: Sooth Ayrshire; Scottish Gaelic: Siorrachd Inbhir Àir a Deas, pronounced [ʃirˠəxk iɲiˈɾʲaːɾʲ ə tʲes̪]) is one of 32 council areas of Scotland, covering the southern part of Ayrshire. It borders onto Dumfries and Galloway, East Ayrshire and North Ayrshire. South Ayrshire Council is a Conservative controlled council. 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.

The Conservative Party currently lead a minority administration in South Ayrshire, with Bill McIntosh as Leader of the Council and Labour's Helen Moonie as Provost. They are working within a partnership agreement with the Labour Party, supported by both Independents.

County Buildings

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

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

Places of interest


Secondary schools

School School roll Opened Area served notes
Ayr Academy 715 1880 Annbank, Coylton, Dalmilling (Ayr), Mossblown, Newton-on-Ayr (Ayr), Wallacetown (Ayr) Scotland's oldest secondary school
Belmont Academy 1455 New School Opened August 2008 Alloway (Ayr), Braehead (Ayr), Craigie (Ayr), Doonfoot (Ayr), Seafield (Ayr), Holmston (Ayr), Kincaidston (Ayr), south Belmont (Ayr), south Castlehill (Ayr), Tarbolton, Whitletts (Ayr) 6th largest school in Scotland
Carrick Academy 554 1926 Maybole and North Carrick Present buildings built in 1974
Girvan Academy 660 Girvan and South Carrick
Kyle Academy 902 1979 Ayr Fort (Ayr), Forehill (Ayr), Old Belmont (Ayr), Masonhill (Ayr)
Marr College 1233 1935 Dundonald, Loans, Troon Funded by money left by CK Marr
Queen Margaret Academy 662 1977 Roman Catholic pupils in South Ayrshire Only Roman Catholic school in South Ayrshire
Prestwick Academy 1200 1902 Heathfield (Ayr), Monkton, Prestwick, Woodfield (Ayr)

Closed schools


Local Government

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

A list of South Ayrshire councillors may be found below, sorted by political party:

Ward Councillors Party
Troon Peter Convery Scottish Conservative Party
Bill McIntosh
(Leader of the Council)
Scottish Conservative Party
Nan McFarlane Scottish National Party
Phil Saxton Scottish Labour Party
Prestwick Hugh Hunter Scottish Conservative Party
Margaret Toner Scottish Conservative Party
Ian Cochrane Scottish National Party
Helen Moonie
Scottish Labour Party
Ayr North Ian Cavana Scottish Labour Party
Rita Miller Scottish Labour Party
Douglas Campbell Scottish National Party
John Hampton Scottish Conservative Party
Ayr East Ian Douglas Scottish National Party
John Wallace[1] Scottish National Party
Mary Kilpatrick
(Depute Provost)
Scottish Conservative Party
Brian McGinley Scottish Labour Party
Ayr West Bill Grant Scottish Conservative Party
Robin Reid Scottish Conservative Party
Allan Hopkins Dorans
(Group Leader)
Scottish National Party
Kirsty Darwent Scottish Labour Party
Kyle Andy Campbell Scottish Labour Party
John Allan Scottish National Party
Hywel Davies Scottish Conservative Party
Maybole, North Carrick and Coylton Brian Connolly Independent
Sandra Goldie Scottish Labour Party
Ann Galbraith Scottish Conservative Party
William James Grant Scottish National Party
Girvan and South Carrick Alec Clark Independent
Alec Oattes Scottish National Party
John Dowall (Group Leader) Scottish Labour Party


South Ayrshire forms part of 2 Westminster constituencies, listed below:

Constituency Member Party
Ayr, Carrick and Cumnock Corri Wilson Scottish National Party
Central Ayrshire Philippa Whitford Scottish National Party

Scottish Parliament

Constituency MSPs

South Ayrshire forms part of 2 Scottish Parliamentary constituency seats, listed below:

Constituency Member Party
Ayr John Scott Scottish Conservative Party
Carrick, Cumnock and Doon Valley Jeane Freeman Scottish National Party

Regional List MSPs

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

At the 2014 Scottish independence referendum South Ayrshire rejected independence by a margin of 57.9% "No" to 42.1% "Yes" alongside 28 out of 32 local council areas in Scotland. 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.[2]

European Union membership referendum

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

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.[3] In November 2005 the leader of the Labour group Andy Hill resigned on the grounds of ill-health,[4] 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.


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