Council teases future hall at controversial £45m Ayr leisure center as project is given planning green light

South Ayrshire Council have claimed that a sports hall could be added to the new Ayr Leisure Center in the future.

The claim was made by project officer Derek Yuille as the council’s Regulatory Panel approved planning permission for the controversial center by five votes to four.

The issue of a future hall was raised by Troon SNP councilor Craig Mackay, who said he would have liked to see such a facility and asked about possible extensions in the future.

Mr Yuille replied. “We have tried to be as flexible as we can with design. Should there be a requirement such as games hall then the design has been placed on site to be added to.”

Fort Seafield and Wallacetown Community Council chairman Norman McLean objected on behalf of the group.

He stated that he had written to the Scottish Government regarding the lack of an Environmental Impact Assessment and requested a pause in the application until this had been addressed.

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The community council also raised other objections, including.

  • Claiming that the council had ‘blighted’ the Arran Mall site causing businesses to relocate
  • Provided no evidence of increased footfall
  • Diluted sporting provision compared to Citadel
  • Discovery of methane gas means poor ground conditions
  • No details of costing for piling work

Mr McLean said: “It is wrong in concept, wrong in location, wrong in provision of facilities and wrong in uncontrolled excessive cost.

“And for what? To move a fully functioning facility at the Citadel, with some upgrading, half a mile from its site to one with less facilities and proven validity.”

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Objections to the center deemed planning matters including walking distances, parking, traffic safety and disruption were either acceptable or viable with planning conditions.

Another objector Andrew Russell said: “At the last pre-planning consultation I asked, ‘why have we seen no data presented on town center pools like Irvine or Dumfries.’

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“[I was told] ‘We cannot compare them as they are not like for like, really, no user information or footfall numbers.’

“Where is the evidence?”

Maybole Conservative Councilor Iain Campbell also queried this.

He raised the issue of methane gas caused by underground peat deposits and pointed towards a recent planning application where the council did not want houses built on top of peat.

However, Girvan Independent Councillor Alec Clark gave full backing to the plan, pointing out that it would ‘enhance and protect’ the Victorian façade, help retailers and encourage people from out with Ayr to attend, thanks to its proximity to the railway station.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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