An addiction recovery charity has been given the go ahead to develop three new residential units in the idyllic surroundings of the River Garden at Auchincruive.

South Ayrshire Council’s Regulatory Panel approved a planning application from Independence from Drugs and Alcohol Scotland (IFDAS) to build the accommodation for both staff and residents.

It already operates from the River Garden site,  which is home to Category B listed buildings and forms part of an Inventory Garden and Designed Landscape area.

Part of the site is also situated within the River Ayr Provisional Wildlife Site.

The buildings would provide residential accommodation for both residents and staff as part of the IFDAS recovery model, with an additional 36 bed spaces to be provided.

The accommodation would e single storey in height and formed in a courtyard layout.

The report to councillors  says: “Additional landscaping, including a wildflower meadow and pond and tree planting are also proposed.

“Vehicular/pedestrian access shall be taken from a new track/road accessed from an area utilised for parking to the rear of the existing IFDAS accommodation buildings at Nellies Gate.”

The planning application had to be brought before the panel as it had received more than ten objections.

But there were significantly more representations of support. Of the 48 representations received, 11  objected to the proposed development and 37 were in support.

The issues raised by objectors included, traffic and road safety, site history, extent of the application, concerns around trees, woodlands and the natural environment.

The positive representations  ‘predominantly refer to the positive impact of proposals as part of the wider IFDAS programme at River Garden for both individual residents, the wider community and society, through the services provided’.

Officers added that there was also support for the River Garden project in terms of restoring historic buildings and gardens.

The River Garden website outlines its aims.

It says: “At River Garden Auchincruive, we help people to leave behind their drug and alcohol addiction through a model of recovery that is refreshingly different.

“Not only are residents given much needed time to reflect on their lives and to grow and flourish, but they are given the means to do so through the communal support of their peers and their participation in on-site social enterprises.”

Planners said that the development was broadly aligned to planning policy and that, despite objections, no issues of concern were raised that would merit a refusal.

In recommending approval, the planning report concluded: “Overall, it is considered that the proposal will not have an unacceptable impact on the character, setting or appearance of the site, or the wider locality.

“Overall, there are no policy objections it is considered that the proposal will not have an adverse impact on the residential character or amenity of the locality.”

Councillors approved the application on Thursday.