New wellness park plans slammed for being ‘provocative’ and ‘confusing’ as more than 50 Ayrshire residents rail against grand blueprints


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

The developers of a ‘Wellness Park’ outside Auchinleck have been criticized for missing out key information in its planning application to East Ayrshire Council.

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

Critics have 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 have 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 endorsed the plan.

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

In his objection he said that the level of some wildlife has been underestimated, while others, such as lichens, have 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.”

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

He continued, criticizing the lack of clarity on the facilities being proposed.

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.

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

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The lack of information also prompted objections from statutory consultes, including the Coal Authority, SEPA and even the council’s own Environmental Health department, which said it had failed to obtain vital information, even after requesting it a second time.

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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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