A proposal of application notice – noting intent to submit a planning application in due course following community consultation – has been submitted to East Ayrshire Council.
Active health and mental relaxation facilities will be provided – including spa, exercise, craft activities and amenities – as well as accommodation in lodges and geodesic domes. The project also aims to act as a destination for people seeking healthy dining.
National Pride, which aims to create ecologically sustainable and ethical developments, completed the purchase of the 108.8-acre site as The Barony NP (UK) Limited from Hargreaves Land in July 2020. The company hopes that, planning permission permitting, construction could start on site in the third quarter of 2022 for completion at the end of 2024.
Irene Bisset, chair of National Pride, said: “We are incredibly excited to be adding the fantastic Barony to our Eco-Therapy and Wellness collection of projects. There is an increasing recognition of the need for places close to nature for mental health and wellbeing, and the impacts of Covid-19 have made us even more aware of the healing power that nature can bring to our lives.
“Guests at The Barony will experience a safe, restful and enlivening environment in which to relax, rejuvenate and be healthy in mind and body, developing their mental and physical strength and personal resilience.
“Our leisure and tourism destination will also provide significant economic and community benefits to the area and we look forward to engaging with the local community on the scheme as it progresses.”
Education and training opportunities, especially for vulnerable adults, will be a priority and the project will create local employment and also aims to support local businesses and jobs in the supply chain.
Today all that remains of the Barony Colliery is a pit-heading winding gear frame, the Barony A-Frame, which is a local landmark. Barony NP (UK) will support The Barony A-Frame Trust in the rehabilitation of a memorial garden dedicated to those miners who lost their lives in the coal mine from 1908 to 1969.
The Barony project also aims to act as a centre of excellence for renewable technologies. It will use modern construction materials, combined with geo-thermal energy from the disused mine for use by the local community, especially the nearby NHS general hospital.
National Pride recently purchased the 930-acre St Ninians and Loch Fitty site in Fife, which it also plans to develop for tourism and leisure.