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Prestwick steeple set for rebirth as Freeman's Hall finally gets new look

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A much-loved town steeple missing for more than 10 years is finally set to return.The historic spire which sat atop Prestwick's Freeman's Hall has been a source of controversy ever since its removal on safety grounds in 2011.But now a council-backed taskforce has been convened to draw a line under the saga once and for all.South Ayrshire's new administration is to finance a £50,000 fund backing the 'Prestwick Development Group' in its work to source a replacement steeple.The brainchild of town councillor, Hugh Hunter, the cross-party group has heavyweight name value in the shape of Professor Ian Welsh OBE, who will act as independent chair.Prominent town residents and community council figures are also on board.Part of the group's remit is to plan potential investment of £1 million into Prestwick, which will be unlocked from the expected windfall of Ayr's new leisure centre being axed.Prof Welsh said: "People might think they've heard all this about the steeple before – but the clear difference this time is that there's a commitment from the administration to delivering this project."The significant issue for us is to find an end use for the space, which includes the adjacent property to the Freeman's Hall."We're looking at a two-year window to bring something home and we're really excited about what can be achieved here."Whatever the uses for the building going forward, we have to maximise the space available to us."A potential golf hub is among early ideas for the cottage next to the hall, while young architects will be engaged to come up with designs for a replacement steeple.Prestwick historian and taskforce member Alasdair Malcolm added: "Nothing is off the table in terms of design.The Ayrshire Live app is available

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