Wildlife and environmental charities are calling on a former colliery site on the outskirts of Auchinleck to be preserved.

A 'planning permission in principle' (PPP) application has been resubmitted by National Pride for part of the land previously occupied by the Barony colliery.

Conservation organisation Buglife says the proposals would see the loss of a rich mosaic of grassland, scrub, and woodland that have reclaimed the former colliery site.

National Pride redesigned their proposals after a previous application was refused by East Ayrshire Council's planning committee earlier this year.

The outline plans for an 'eco therapy wellness park' were resubmitted to the authority in September.

Councillors turned down the plans after the votes were tied at six apiece, with Provost Jim Todd using his casting vote as chair of the planning committee to refuse permission for the project.

Cumnock Chronicle:

Much of the opposition against the original plans was on the grounds of their environmental impact - though those who supported the application pointed towards the employment and economic opportunities it would present.

Planners say that "further ecological surveys and geotechnical work" has been completed, and that "the masterplan has undergone a complete redesign".

Cumnock Chronicle:

Wildlife experts are saying that the Barony Colliery, is simply the wrong place for an eco-wellness park

Andrew Ramsey, Scotland manager at Buglife Scotland, said: "It is disappointing to see these proposals come forward again, without addressing our fundamental concerns.

"Barony Colliery is home to important populations of invertebrates and should be protected, not subjected to constant development threats. We cannot meet our ambitiou targets if we do not protect what we already have.”

Those views were echoed by Bruce Wilson, head of policy at the Scottish Wildlife Trust, who added: “We are in the midst of a nature and climate crisis and the Scottish Government has a very ambitious, but necessary, target of reversing declines in biodiversity by 2030.

"Building on our best remaining wildlife sites is completely incompatible with this target. The applicant’s own surveys show how important the Barony Colliery is for local wildlife, but what they are suggesting would leave the site degraded and our local wildlife poorer.

"We hope that East Ayrshire Council again stands up for wildlife and refuses this application.”

Cumnock Chronicle:

Historic Environment Scotland has said it has no objections to the proposals, having been asked to comment because the site is relatively close to Dumfries House.

In a letter to the council, HES said: "We do not object to the proposed development.

"Our view is that the proposals do not raise historic environment issues of national significance and therefore we do not object.

"Our decision not to object should not be taken as our support for the proposals.

"This application should be determined in accordance with national and local policy on development affecting the historic environment, together with related policy guidance."

Cumnock Chronicle:

Auchinleck Community Council (ACC) is also backing the revised plans - as they did the original proposals.

In their submission ACC said: "The community council of Auchinleck has unanimously approved their support for the proposed new build Eco-Wellbeing development on the former Barony Colliery, Barony Road, Auchinleck."

The current application has a 'determination deadline' of mid January 2024.