SOCIAL enterprise company, National Pride, has revealed exciting proposals to develop an environmentally sensitive Eco-Therapy Wellness Park at the site of the former Barony colliery, located near Aunchinleck in East Ayrshire (images attached).
The organisation, which has a core ethos 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 Barony Eco-Therapy Wellness Centre will act as a health and wellness destination. Active health and mental relaxation facilities, with spa, exercise, craft activities and amenities will be provided, as well as accommodation in lodges and geodesic domes. The project also aims to act as a destination showcasing healthy dining experiences
Natural woodland at the location will be sensitively recrafted to enable visitors to develop mental and physical strengths and personal resilience, as well as being a restfulness centre for sufferers of life-changing illnesses and conditions. The Barony site descends into the Lugar Water Valley, forming a micro-climate where the proposals will refocus the natural environment to create oxygen-rich clean and pollutant free air.
Education and training opportunities, especially for vulnerable adults, will be a priority and the project will create significant 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 huge pit-heading winding gear frame, the Barony A-Frame, which is an inspiring local landmark and testament to the industrial heritage of the site.
Barony NP (UK) Limited will support The Barony A-Frame Trust in the rehabilitation of the ‘Memorial Garden’ dedicated to those miners who tragically lost their lives in the coal mine from 1908-1969. The rehabilitation and enhancement of the Garden will be a place of tribute and remembrance for the local community and a permanent reminder of the area’s mining heritage.
The Barony project also aims to revolutionise how renewable energy can be generated, acting 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.
A proportion of the profits will be reinvested back into community wellbeing projects and support NHS student training.
Volunteering opportunities will be offered for those of all ages and abilities in a welcoming and accepting environment. With the proximity of the new Barony Campus, students and visitors will also be able to appreciate the natural environment and advances in carbon zero plus renewable energy technologies.
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 and a dedicated project website has been set-up at www.baronywellness.com/
A web-based community consultation event will occur on Wednesday 23rd June 2021 between 2pm and 7pm, adhering to Scottish Government guidance on consultations during Covid-19.
Should things go according to plan it is anticipated that, planning permission permitting, construction could start on site in quarter three 2022 with it completing at the end of 2024.
National Pride also recently purchased the St Ninians and Loch Fitty site in Fife, which aims to deliver a major new tourism and leisure destination. The 930-acre site, located near Dunfermline, will be developed by National Pride to also become an Eco-Therapy Wellness Park.
Irene Bisset, Chair of National Pride commented:
“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.”