A community building, which breaches planning guidelines, is to be built at the bottom of Ayr High Street in a new public park.

Today councillors approved the plan for the historic riverside area at the South Ayrshire Council Regulatory Panel. 

There were 13 objections and 11 supporters who backed the council proposal.

It is the third set of plans to be produced for the important public site since 2016.

The old Savers building bordering the former Woolworths site is to be demolished. 

There will be toilets inside the ‘community pavilion’, which has been described as a ‘scouts hut’ by objector Ian Stewart. 

People believe the flat roofed structure will look out of place alongside Ayr’s grand architecture. 

There are hopes to use the redeveloped zone as an events space.

Regulatory panel chair Councillor Brian Connolly said: “Nobody was 100 per cent happy with the design of the community building. 

“It is not perfect but on balance the regeneration of the town centre and development of the site swayed the decision.”

He added: “The general feeling of those who voted for the proposal is we need to get something done with this part of Ayr.

“It was a balanced judgement. It wasn’t clear cut one way or the other.”

Four Conservative councillors voted against the proposal with Labour, SNP and Independent politicians supporting it - giving a vote of five in favour. 

Council planning officials admitted the community pavilion design was contrary to the local development plan. But officers still recommended approval.

Ayr resident John Dunlop, who objected, managed to get access to the private meeting online to have his say.

He said: “This awful proposal contrives to completely ignore the heritage, the location, and the mass of the development required for the space.”

Mr Dunlop described it as an “immensely important site that has created wealth for the town for four centuries”.

He added: “This proposal destroys the wealth generating potential of this site – forever.”

Fort, Seafield and Wallacetown Community Council also objected.

A council report prepared for councillors said: “On balance, the re-development of the brownfield site is considered to be of over-riding community interest which will contribute significantly to the regeneration of Ayr town centre. 

“Accordingly, the application is recommended for approval, subject to conditions.”

Michael Hitchon, president of the Kyle and Carrick Civic Society, wanted to see the old Savers building retained and used for housing.

His objection described the vision as “disappointing”.

He pointed out the design of “community meeting room pays no respect to the surrounding buildings in the conservation area.”