The Three Towns Growers have been granted planning permission for a clubhouse at their Elm Park allotments in Ardrossan.

North Ayrshire Council approved the application last week. It also gave the go-ahead for improved parking and road access at the site.

The clubhouse will be used as a social space where gardeners will relax and socialise in comfort as well as providing a meeting space for the group to plan and deliver future activities.

The Growers first got permission for the "low key" clubroom at the Elm Park site back in July 2018. But the whole project was delayed by the pandemic.

The new space will be available for other local community groups to rent and use.

The approval came with conditions. The first is that a site investigation and risk assessment be carried out before work begins.

Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald: The clubhouse designThe clubhouse design (Image: Newsquest)

The second is to ensure ground conditions have been considered and remediated in the interests of public health.

A report to North Ayrshire Council's planning committee revealed: "The current indoor space is a repurposed shipping container, which is not fit for purpose and can’t accommodate the numbers that TTG’s workshops are attracting. With the purpose-built cabin they would be able to accommodate larger groups. 

"The project is looking to deliver an improved entrance roadway and clubhouse facility, complete with mains fed electricity and water and the provision of accessible, and general use, toilets - all required to increase accessibility within the site, and to ensure particular groups are not excluded.

The report states: "Significant funding was secured from a cocktail of sources but, as time was spent deliberating the way forward, costs started to escalate.

"At that time Covid struck and all matters were put on hold.

"As a consequence of the Covid pandemic, the Three Towns Growers have been unable to realise the kind of funds that they had hoped to generate as a group.

"Delivery costs have continued to escalate and there was a need to rationalise, and reduce, the ambitions for the clubhouse and site wide elements.

Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald: The site plan for the clubhouse

"Given the financial constraints that have been imposed due to funding challenges and build cost increases, the board have now settled on a proposal that delivers a dual pitched structure equating to some 104 sq.m., in a simple rectangular form."

The new faciliity will enable the Growers to run skills for work education programs and qualifications such as the Grow and Learn Award from the Royal Caledonia Horticultural Society, and will also offer work experience and work placements to the young people of the community."

The report added: "With the employment of the development manager it is intended that the allotments will become an ’outreach’ facility for colleges and universities and the location of an accredited SVQ centre.

"The area is a popular spot with local teenagers at the weekend, with the activities they engage in not always encouraging their safety.

"Having this facility will allow TTG to hold activity evenings and events to engage them."