Don’t leave Dalmellington and Bellsbank out of our national park bid.

That was the message from councillors at a cabinet meeting which discussed efforts to create a Galloway National Park.

If successful the area would be in the same league as the Cairngorms and Loch Lomond.  

Four boundaries have been suggested for the beauty spot but none of them stretch to Dalmellington and Bellsbank. Loch Doon is included.

One of the boundary proposals encompasses the coast north of Girvan to the south of Ayr. The shoreline south of Girvan is contained in another potential map.

A paper on the proposal was presented to East Ayrshire Council cabinet members.

Councillors called for further information on whether Dalmellington, Bellsbank and Glen Afton could be integrated into the proposed park. The paper will be brought back to cabinet at a later date.

Council head of planning Michael Keane said: “If it (the park) was extended it would include Dalmellington and Bellsbank and would provide a benefit to those settlements.”

Council leader Douglas Reid, SNP, said: “Why should Dalmellington lose out?”

Labour councillor John McGhee said: “It is always mentioned that we don’t have a coastline but we have Loch Doon.

“We should  be investing and promoting Loch Doon.”

He called for a “better campsite” near the loch and for Glen Afton to also get pushed more as a destination.

The council said National Park status could attract government funding, visitors and employment.

A group of local people have set up the Galloway National Park Association to campaign for the vision.

The landscape is already home to the Galloway Forest Park, the Dark Sky Park, four Special Areas of Protection, 16 Special Areas for Conservation and two National Nature Reserves. Among the scenery are more than 85 Sites of Special Scientific Interest. And there is the UNESCO Galloway and South Ayrshire Biosphere.

Large parts of Dumfries and Galloway make up the proposed park ground.