PATNA resident John Young has described East Ayrshire Council’s behaviour as a personal insult.

Mr Young, a long-time critic of the restoration of the area’s former opencast sites, was referring to a National Lottery award of £2.56m.

It was delivered through a project, called The Coalfield Community Landscape Partnership, to create opportunities for leisure, tourism, skills and training.

Council leader Douglas Reid said: “This is fantastic news and will allow us to work up the detail of our ambitious scheme, devised in partnership with our communities.

“This wouldn’t have been possible without the efforts of our wonderful partners — East Ayrshire Leisure Trust, Central Scotland Green Network, Forest Enterprise Scotland, Galloway and Southern Ayrshire Biosphere and Scottish Natural Heritage.

“We look forward to continuing this partnership work, sharing the benefits of a renewed landscape and celebrating our unique heritage.”

But Mr Young remains unimpressed, and said: “The money will be welcome but the idea that East Ayrshire Council suddenly care about our history is a joke.

“My grandparents and dad lived in Lethanhill so I take the council’s behaviour as a personal insult.

“People like Mr Reid only care when they can get some cheap publicity to deflect from their mistakes. They should have no involvement in how plans develop from here.”