Councillors have given Craig Tara Holiday Park the go ahead to replace its golf course with almost 140 new caravan pitches ... despite hundreds of objections.

The park's owners had sought permission from South Ayrshire Council to create 137 caravan pitches at the site off the A719.

The development has faced significant opposition, largely on claims that the extension and additional traffic on Dunure Road would "exacerbate the existing traffic issues" and increase the risk of injury and fatalities on the road as a result of queuing and cars trying to bypass tailbacks.

Objectors said residents would "bear the brunt" of the disruption.

Members of the council's regulatory panel for planning considered the application by the park's owners, Haven, in February.

Local authority officials had recommended the plans be approved, but councillors opted to hold a site visit before making a final decision.

The panel's latest meeting was told the applicant has proposed further measures around the traffic issue.

This includes road widening to provide an additional wide lane of carriageway extending north towards the check-in location within the site.

Planners report that this will, in effect, create three lanes for a section of the internal access and road network as well as additional emergency access points for the park.

A report by council officials said: “The third lane will allow two lanes of traffic to access the site and continue towards the check-in location providing additional internal queuing/storage for around 30 cars."

A new 1.5 metre wide path would connect to an existing path.

Other objections were raised about the holiday park becoming too big, concerns about crime and anti-social behaviour at Craig Tara, and the loss of the golf course and green space.

The National:

The Ayrshire Roads Alliance had initially objected to the plans, but removed their opposition once they had examined the mitigations put forward by the park.

The development proposals involve the change of use and redevelopment of an existing ancillary nine-hole golf course situated within Craig Tara Holiday Park to form an extension to this established and longstanding tourism facility.

This internal expansion of the park will incorporate 137 new pitches for caravans alongside supporting infrastructure, landscaping, accesses and road and traffic mitigation.

The planning officer’s report states: “The proposal is considered to represent an acceptable promotion of tourism and tourist accommodation and an acceptable growth of an existing rural tourism business.”

A total of 223 objections have been sent to South Ayrshire Council, none of which, according to planners, were strong enough to "merit refusal of this application".

Planning officers responded to a number of questions from councillors and confirmed that talks were ongoing about planting semi-mature trees to ensure screening takes less time than it would had saplings been planted.

Cllr Ian Cavana (Labour, Ayr North) also asked whether the work would begin on the road upgrade before the extension itself.

He was told that there is a condition that would require the road improvements to be carried out before anyone could move into a caravan, but not the actual construction work.

The park opened as Butlins Ayr just after the Second World War, before being renamed Wonderwest World in 1987. It was taken over by Haven, who renamed it Craig Tara in 1999.

The National: The Haven Craig Tara park on the A719 south of Ayr

 The site already contains a total of 1417 static caravans, either privately owned or for rental, as well as sports facilities, entertainment venues, restaurants, bars and retail. 

The park currently has a licence from South Ayrshire Council allowing up to 1457 pitches, meaning that the number of pitches will rise above that limit.

Councillors on the panel approved the application.