A community group’s plans to lease a beachfront toilet block from North Ayrshire Council are expected to clear another hurdle this week.

Ardrossan Community Development Trust (ACDT) wants to run the facilities at the town's South Beach, and transform an adjacent plot of land at South Crescent Road, for 25 years.

The trust applied to the council for a community asset transfer (CAT), and the lease was approved on January 24.

Since then, the CAT has moved forward with progress including an assessment by council locality officers and completion of the full, statutory public consultation – where no comments were submitted.

Since January, there has been substantial negotiation between the council and a full business plan was submitted by ACDT at the start of March.

The business plan outlines opportunities for ACDT to generate income, shows where external funding has been secured and explains where potential future funding will come from.

An annual rent of £600 has been recommended and this will be considered by cabinet tomorrow (Tuesday, March 21).

Phase one of the project is scheduled to start in July and will include improvements such as:

  • A hub on the grounds of the existing toilet block, with fully-accessible loos and changing place facility, and a cafe
  • Storage at the rear of the hub for crazy golf equipment and hiring Hippocamp wheelers and deckchairs
  • A swing play with accessible basket swings and a wheelchair-accessible swing
  • Rotating equipment, with roundabouts, that are accessible to people using wheelchairs
  • The former 18-hole crazy golf course will be fully reinstated with 2.4 metre flagpoles in bright colours
  • Beach huts for community groups and social enterprise use
  • A hedge maze for play and to offer some shelter.

The trust was set up in 2019 and works to attract funding for local projects, attract visitors to the area and boost the sense of pride in the town. It is now one of the biggest in Scotland, with more than 400 members, and launched its website in 2020 to engage with the community.

The aim of asset transfers is to give people the opportunity to be involved in developing and providing opportunities or services for their local communities.

A report ahead of this week’s cabinet meeting states: “This CAT will facilitate the development of a range of events and activities within the enhanced area, encouraging a wider range of people to get involved, giving opportunities for local volunteering and stimulating involvement in shaping and regenerating community life, building self-esteem and confidence.

“In addition, the creation of the beach huts will support local business enterprise, with profits being used to sustain ACDT’s projects.”

Councillor Alan Hill, cabinet member for communities and islands, said: “It is encouraging to see the great progress that is being made on the proposals for South Beach.

“This is a project that has the potential to bring a variety of community benefits to the area, including boosting wellbeing, offering people interesting options to socialise locally and encouraging enterprise.”