Wellness park developer faces backlash over planning application

Developers of a 'wellness park' near Auchinleck have been criticised for missing out key information.

Auchinleck wellness park developer faces backlash over planning application LDRS

A park that aims to provide active health and mental wellbeing facilities has attracted 50 objections.

The developers of the “wellness park”, near Auchinleck in East Ayrshire, were criticised for missing out key information in their planning application.

The Barony Eco-Therapy Wellness Centre aims to provide active health and mental wellbeing facilities alongside accommodation, such as lodges and geodomes.

But critics blasted the developers, National Pride, for continuing to add important information after the deadline for public comments, forcing further consultation to be undertaken.

Other objectors complained about “meaningless” wording, references to wildlife habitats and landscapes that have nothing to do with the Barony site, inaccurate assessments of native animals, the loss of more trees than originally indicated and “inexperienced” developers.

However, both Ayrshire Chamber of Commerce and Auchinleck Community Council have backed the plan.

Ochiltree ecologist Michael Howes, who is also a campaigner against the Killoch incinerator project, outlined his issues with the plans.

In his objection, he said the level of some wildlife had been underestimated, while others, such as lichens, had been “completely ignored”.

He continued: “The mammal survey inexplicably fails to record nine common mammals present. The Butterfly survey fails to record twelve of the regular species and the moth survey falls short by over 70 species.

“The lack of depth of understanding of this site is astounding.”

He added: “To have a plan foisted on us by two insurance risk managers from London with only crowd funded-resources and no practical experience of such developments but loads of glossy PR is inevitably provocative.”

Another objector, Paul Cobb, said the application should have been rejected “at the outset” for being incomplete.

He said: “Apart from the accommodation units it is still not clear exactly what they intend to build.

“There are meaningless expressions such as projective ecologies, biophilics, fish and invertebrates research, water management and education, vertical farming, and MGB, with no explanation of what these buildings are, what size they are, or what they will do.

“We can’t tell from all this confusion what it is they really want.

“The application documents mislead by including things that are not even part of the application, but giving the impression they are.

“The application documents further mislead by including illustrations of habitats, landscapes, and farming that have no connection whatsoever with the Barony, and would not even be possible on the ‘soil’ of a coal bing.

“The arboricultural assessment shows the true scale of tree removal to be much greater than the applicant led us to believe, a level which is unacceptable in this day and age.”

The lack of information also prompted objections from statutory consultees, including the Coal Authority, SEPA and the council’s own environmental health department, which said it had failed to get vital information, even after requesting it for a second time.

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