New plans for a health and wellness park on the site of a former coal mine are to be brought forward.

A mining heritage museum is proposed "to reconnect the local community with the former coal site, also paying tribute to the industry and those that worked in the mine, especially those who suffered injury or who lost their lives".

The proposed health and wellness destination will stimulate local economic growth, and encourage significant inward investment, creating around 400 local jobs. It is claimed it will also support many more in the business supply chain, where priority will be given to local trades and businesses, if it is approved.

Education, training and work opportunities for young and vulnerable adults of all ages will be a priority, with volunteering opportunities offered.

Local trades, crafts and businesses will be encouraged to showcase their services, "especially those using natural ingredients grown on site in a circular ecology sympathetic economy".

It is "felt to be important that future generations are aware what the site meant to the local community". Barony NP (UK) Limited will support The Barony A-Frame Trust with its future plans.

The development will also aim to incorporate and demonstrate the latest in renewable energy technology, including geo-thermal energy from the warm mine water beneath the surface.

The Herald: How the park might lookHow the park might look (Image: National Pride)

A proportion of the profits accrued from the development by National Pride UK CIC will be reinvested back into community wellbeing projects and to support NHS student training.

A Proposal of Application Notice  for The Barony Eco-Therapy Wellness Park, located on the site of the former Barony Colliery, has been submitted to East Ayrshire Council.

The PAN heralds the intent by Barony NP (UK) Ltd to submit a new application for planning permission in principle, following a minimum 12-weeks of public consultation, which will include two events to be held at venues local to the development.

An environmental impact assessment, required by East Ayrshire Council, will be submitted as part of the planning application, together with evidential geotechnical and engineering information.

This will focus specifically on the suitability of the ground conditions of the site bing for the development of lightweight guest accommodation and facilities. 

Allocated for recreational and leisure uses by East Ayrshire Council, Barony Wellness is proposed to be the “first true nature-based wellbeing destination in Europe”.

It will incorporate managed planting of Scottish flora to increase biodiversity and encourage future natural development.

Local public consultation events will be held, with the first on Tuesday June 27 at Ochiltree Community Hub, and the second at the beginning of August at a venue to be confirmed.

Irene Bisset, chair of National Pride UK, said: “We are delighted to be progressing this planning application and to provide reassurance on the ground conditions through an Environmental Impact Assessment. 

“The Eco-Therapy Wellness Park will serve to enhance the biodiversity of the currently unmanaged site and deliver considerable investment and employment opportunities in East Ayrshire, in what we believe will be the first true nature-based wellbeing destination in Europe.

“We look forward to engaging with the local community as we progress these exciting proposals.”

An exciting new chapter for The Herald Food & Drink

When I first moved to Glasgow almost a decade ago, it took no time at all to develop a weekend ritual that centred on pulling up The Herald Scotland website to find out which restaurant had been reviewed that week.

This week I am immensely proud to have joined the incredible team at The Herald Scotland to take on the role of Food & Drink writer in a move that can only be described as the best possible way to have come full circle from first subscribing to the paper.

Major new 'concept store' opens at Scottish shopping centre

Jewellery retailer Pandora has opened a larger “concept store” at Braehead shopping centre, which is owned by property company SGS and asset managed by Global Mutual with Savills as property managers.

The “upsized” 1,635 sq ft store at the Renfrewshire shopping centre is on the upper level of the main centre - covering Pandora’s previous unit and the neighbouring one. Steve Gray, head of European retail asset management at Global Mutual, said: “The opening of Pandora’s new concept store at Braehead is really exciting for the centre."

Scotch whisky boss suffers 'significant setback' following surgery

Scotch whisky giant Diageo has appointed its incoming chief executive to the role ahead of schedule after current boss Sir Ivan Menezes suffered a "significant setback" following emergency surgery on a stomach ulcer.

Debra Crew, the company’s chief operating officer who had been due to succeed Sir Ivan on July 1, has become interim chief executive of the Johnnie Walker, Guinness, and Gordon’s Gin maker with immediate effect.