Royal Highland and Agricultural Society of Scotland chairman Jimmy Warnock is “100% certain” that the planning process for the 2019 Royal Highland Show is on track.
He was speaking following a meeting of the 59 strong RHASS board on Wednesday where consideration had been given to recent unrest amongst some members following the news that David Jackson, the Society’s show Manager had left the business and would not be returning.
RHASS chief executive Alan Laidlaw said “We had a full and frank discussion at the board including discussing a letter which had been signed by a number of members.
"It has been said that there is only one person working on show preparations at the moment but that is not what I see I walk into the office every day.
"We have a good team of long serving staff with a huge amount of experience in running the Royal Highland Show. What we have not had before is a plan in black and white as to how the show is put together and that is what we are working on now to make sure people inter react effectively.”
As to whether a replacement show director would be appointed, the matter was still “under discussion.”
“There have been a number of changes and as membership organisation I would be worried if there were no questions. My door is always open,” added Mr Laidlaw.
The RHASS board also on Wednesday approved the appointment of national construction firm Robertson as the main contractor for the 1750 square metre structure which will act as a members’ pavilion during the Royal Highland Show and as multi-use events facility for the rest of the year.
The project , which is scheduled to be ready for the 2020 show, is budgeted to cost £5 million. This comes on top of £7.5m of expenditure over the last two years on important underground infrastructure improvements.
“It is all part of a £20m investment programme. We have the funding in place and I am delighted to say that we have just finished out financial year with a strengthened balance sheet. We have recently sold an advertising site at the entrance to the airport for in excess of £2m and this along with a £3 loan from RBS will be allocated to the new building.
The new Moxy Hotel, near the airport entrancel is to open in January. “This will provides a six figure annual rental income stream to RHASS for many years to come,” said Mr Laidlaw.
Mr Warnock added: “ All indications are strong. Our predecessors had great foresight when they bought the Inglison site in 1960. No show site I know of has more potential and I am sure the new building will be year round money maker for us.”