New glamping park plan for Machrie meets opposition

The Machrie Moor standing stones in all their glory.

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A new proposal for a glamping pod site in Machrie has been submitted to planners.

Angus Smith has drawn up the proposal to create 10 handmade timber glamping pods at the site at Ashlar Farm.

The new plans have dropped the 22 motorhome pitches which were originally proposed at the Kings Cave Glamping Park but have increased the glamping pods from six to 10. The original application attracted more than 30 objections and was later withdrawn.

The new proposal is for 10 glamping pods for guests along with a permeable parking/turning area and a log cabin reception building. At least one parking bay per pod is proposed, with an entrance gate and track. Each guest pod will have a small area of decking to the front. Also intended are associated footpaths, landscaping and planting. A croft diversification approach is proposed for the development.

The plot is situated just off the main road near Machrie, one kilometre south of the Machrie Moor Standing Stones and adjacent to the popular Kings Cave forest walk and would provide ‘subtle and discreet countryside accommodation’ for tourists visiting this area’s attractions on short breaks and weekend stays, according to the applicant.

A statement in support of the application states:  ‘The site is well located to allow occupiers to enjoy the surrounding tourism assets. The proposed site will be on a tranquil green area. Guests will enjoy peaceful, inexpensive luxury accommodation, further enhancing the Arran tourism portfolio.

‘Glamping installations require minimal ground works and harmful construction practices, ideal for this area where minimal ground disturbance is encouraged to avoid any potential impact on any archaeological undisturbed relics. We therefore believe pods sited here provide an archaeological and ecologic viable accommodation solution, well suited to the area.

‘The concept of luxury glamping is now gaining popularity throughout the UK, with standards and guests ’expectations on the rise. It is intended by the site operator that this site will be amongst the best available in the area. At the moment, there is a presence on Arran offering glamping, however this site will offer enhanced experience for guests through good design and a range of well thought out integrated facilities for guests. Therefore, we feel the site would be providing a positive alternative for visitors to the area.’

But the application has already met opposition from Arran Community Council and three neighbours, who have lodged objection letters.

The community council previously opposed the plans and say they have not changed their minds. They have told planners:  ‘Our collective view remains the same, and our initial response we feel is still wholly relevant. We do accept that the application has been toned down a little, but again the question of how the development impacts on the existing landscape will be where we trust the planning department of North Ayrshire Council to consider the matter comprehensively.’