PLANS for a glamping pod tourism development at a woodland site near Kilwinning have been turned down.

North Ayrshire Council's (NAC) decision to refuse the application was confirmed this week, with a report from the local authority stating that the proposals would not "be in the best interests of the designed landscape character of the area".

Stuart McLean and Susan Pearce had sought permission for seven glamping pods near to Eglinton Country Park, although it was noted that the park itself was not associated with the application.

The applicants also hoped to build an office on the land - to the west of the category B listed Eglinton House - as well as a shower/toilet block and a two-bedroom home.

Commenting last month, the owners of Eglinton House raised concerns that the proposed development would "infringe on our privacy" and urged NAC planning chiefs to throw out the bid.

Responding to those claims, however, Mr McLean and Ms Pearce told the Herald that the development, if given the go-ahead, would provide local jobs and support local businesses, by bringing more custom into the area and capitalising on a booming staycation market.

READ MORE: Eglinton Park glamping pod plans 'will bring benefits to area', say applicants

Almost 40 objections were submitted against the plans, while 10 letters in support were received by the council.

Among those objecting, Kilwinning Community Council said that while it is "keen to support small businesses developing in the town, we feel that this development is not in keeping with the location or the Local Development Plan."

The community council added: "We believe there is already sufficient commercial development in the park and this proposal will not enhance the park or its facilities."

The council's report of handling said: "The applicant's agent has stated that 'the project is about creating future employment for my clients and their family'.

"The agent has added that the proposed workshop on the site would be 'established to allow my clients to create the pods initially with the intentions of producing pods commercially and for my client's tree surgery business'.

"However, whilst noting the potential tourism and economic benefits which could accrue from developments of this nature, it is not considered that a previously undeveloped woodland site within a historic designed landscape on the edge of Eglinton Country Park represents an appropriate location due to the extensive loss of trees and other impacts this development would result in.

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"Furthermore, it is not considered that the proposals would represent a sustainable form of development given the substantial loss of flora and woodland cover, as well as the adverse landscape and visual impacts on the designed landscape.

"The diversification of a tree surgery business that is not currently located on the site would not justify the adverse environmental impacts the proposed development would directly result in."

The NAC planning officer noted that Eglinton House is a "particularly unique and unusual building", and deemed the proposed development to be inappropriate in terms of its layout, design, materials, scale, siting and use with regards to the nearby house.

The decision report added: "The supporting information points out that 'The whole purpose of this type of holiday/break is to get closer to nature and avoid the rat race. Far from being a party venue my client's sole intention is to create a serene camping facility that will be quiet, peaceful and well maintained, bringing a valued partner to Eglinton Park'.

"However, much of the established woodland at the site would need to be removed to make way for the development, which would have an adverse visual and landscape impact on the setting of the adjacent dwelling, Eglinton House, as well as the character of the designed landscape surrounding Eglinton Castle, which dates back to the early 1800s.

"In this way, it is considered that the safe and pleasant characteristics of the present situation would be lost."