A group of local dignitaries have paid a visit to a proposed Eco-Therapy Wellness Park, located on the site of the former Barony Colliery, near Auchinleck in East Ayrshire.
Attending on the day to hear more about the ambitious proposals from Community Interest Company (CIC), National Pride UK, were local Council candidates, William Crawford, Jim McMahon, June Kyle and Neil Watts, as well as representatives from Auchinleck Community Council, Auchinleck Community Development Initiative and Ayrshire Chamber of Commerce.
Barony Wellness is being progressed by Barony NP (UK) Limited, a joint venture company between National Pride UK CIC and socially minded investor, ESE Capital Ltd (formerly Intro Crowd).
Should it be consented, the 108.8-acre site will be a non-exclusive health and wellness destination, providing supportive health and mental relaxation facilities, accessible and affordable for all.
The project has as its core a dedication to develop an ecologically friendly and environmentally sensitive health and wellbeing destination, bringing people into contact with the healing benefits of nature.
Ecologies and productive landscaping will include diverse native species to broaden the range and richness of flora and fauna significantly contributing to biodiversity net gain.
Proactive and managed ecological intervention is more productive in promoting a sustainable ecological environment. Further biodiversity will be supported through insect and mammal foraging corridors and adding an extensive apiary for pollination.
The visitors also learnt about the ecological damage being currently done to the site through anti-social behaviour including dog fouling, fly-tipping and motor bike activity. Restorative action is being taken to protect wildlife and ensure public safety, as well as aiming to prevent further abuse of the site including litter and dog waste removal, pathway and ditch repairs, enhancing site security. Signage will also be installed to welcome people to the site.
Further ecological studies will be conducted at the Barony Road end prior to clearing the area to accommodate a security cabin to prevent the site’s abuse and supporting The Barony A-Frame Trust with refreshment/toilet facilities for the visiting public.
Irene Bisset, Chair of National Pride UK, commented:
“We were delighted to welcome our guests here today so we could outline our exciting proposals for Barony Wellness to them.
“As custodians of the site, it is deeply disappointing to see the damage that is being done to the site and the impact on the natural landscape as well as on potential visitor safety. It was good therefore to be able to outline how we intend to address this, and we would urge the community to be vigilant and highlight to the Police or ourselves any nuisance or damage caused.
“As a Community Interest Company, we have the delivery of community benefit at our core and it was also good to be able to outline the considerable economic benefits, including employment opportunities, that Barony Wellness has the potential to deliver.
“Throughout the process we have engaged extensively with the local community and the support we have received for our proposals to date has been amazing.”
Bobby McCallum, Vice-Chair of Auchinleck Community Development Initiative commented:
“It was fabulous to visit the site and hear about what is being proposed, especially when it comes to the ecological benefits it will deliver.
“If consented, Barony Wellness will clearly provide some marvellous opportunities for the local community, delivering employment and training opportunities, as well as generating considerable investment. This is a win-win for the local area and one that we should grab with both hands.”