Council commit to Coalpots Road for new travellers’ site

The old nursery site at Coalpots Road has been used as a temporary travellers' site since February this year.
The old nursery site at Coalpots Road has been used as a temporary travellers' site since February this year.

South Ayrshire Council has committed to investing in a replacement travellers site in Girvan following severe storm damage to the original site at Houdston late last year.

If planning permission is approved, eight purpose built accommodation units would be constructed at the old nursery site at Coalpots Road, where a temporary travellers site has been in operation since February this year.

A total of eight sites were investigated by the council as suitable alternatives to Houdston which was ruled out over concerns that it could flood again in the future.

The Gazette understands sites in Girvan, Prestwick, Troon and Lendalfoot were rejected by the council before they decided on the Coalpots Road site.

The council say the site was chosen as it provides good access to schools, public transport, health and other services and is already known to the traveller community as it has been used on a temporary basis since February this year.

There are also plans to introduce natural screening to maintain privacy.

Councillor Philip Saxton, Housing and Customer Services Portfolio Holder for South Ayrshire Council said: “I realise this has been a long haul for the displaced residents and I would like to thank them and the wider community for their patience.

“The proposed accommodation is a step away from what the residents of the Houdston site have been used to but we will engage with them to ensure the new living arrangements are in keeping with their chosen lifestyle.

“Hopefully planning permission will be granted which means the new accommodation would be finished in May 2018. In the meantime we will continue to work with the residents to ensure their needs are met and their integration with the local community continues.”

However Girvan and South Carrick independent councillor Alec Clark said that he was not convinced the Coalpots Road site was the best option.

He said: “I cannot support the proposal but I can take assurance from the fact that it will have to go through the full planning procedure, neighbouring properties will be notified, and people can either object or support the proposal.

“The site will be levelled and chalets will be built around the bottom with space for caravans. There will be full kitchen and bathroom facilities and there will be trees planted around the area to give screening and privacy. This will certainly mitigate a lot of the concerns people have and residents can look at the plans and either support or object as they wish.

“To put up this site correctly you’re talking about £1.5 million.

“I tried to call in the original decision. I have nothing against travelling folk, I respect their way of life and they are very welcome in Carrick, but I also respect the residents way of life and I don’t think they really want to be living right next to each other.”

Mr Clark has previously told the Gazette that the proposed site was neither in the interest of the travelling community or the residents as it was 50 yards from a residential area and the road became the main route to Northern Ireland when there were diversions in place.