A HOUSING developer sought to persuade planners that the land they wanted to build on was a brownfield site - because it used to be occupied by a corn mill which closed around 130 years ago.

Applicant Stuart Leith, of Beith, had asked South Ayrshire Council for permission to build 14 detached three, four and five-bedroom homes near Monkton, on a site north of Baird Road, near Brieryside farm.

As part of its justification for using a site that has not been allocated for housing, the developer stated that the site was home to the former Adamton Corn Mill.

This, they said, meant the land should be treated as a brownfield site.

In a report on the application, planners said: “The proposal is seeking to develop on a brownfield site.

"A map from 1858 has been submitted with the planning statement which states that the application site was occupied by Adamton Corn Mill at that time.

“No details have been submitted to advise as to when the mill ceased use.”

However, a bit of digging on the Scottish Water Mills website, a project involving the University of Glasgow, Historic Environment Scotland and the National Library of Scotland, revealed that the mill only appeared in maps up until the 1880s, and was absent from 1890 onwards, meaning no mill had been operating for well over a century.

The planning report continued: “From the information submitted, it is noted that the site is overgrown, unmanaged and inaccessible with poorly maintained drainage.

“The statement goes onto say that there are multiple mill structures still in situ which are below 1.5 metres in height or have been blocked up.”

The applicant’s statement also refers to recent planning permission for housing at Woodend and Low Road within the Adamton estate.

Monkton Community Council was the only objector to the application, arguing that the site is not an allocated housing site in South Ayrshire Council’s local development plan.

The group added that there is no shortfall in housing supply in the area and that the site brings ‘potential flood risk’.

The planning report points out that the site is outside of the settlement boundary of Monkton, where such developments are only supported if there is concrete justification.

The report states: “The proposal does not provide suitable justification in support of the proposal in terms of benefits to the economy and that there is a need for it in that particular location.

“In this case, the development site is located outwith the settlement of Monkton and does not form part of a housing cluster.

"The proposed development is contrary to both the South Ayrshire Local Development Plan (LDP2) and Scottish Planning Policy.”

The application was refused by planners under delegated powers.