The body that oversees Scotland’s historic buildings has given the all clear for the installation of a lift at the 19th century McKechnie Institute in Girvan.

But Historic Environment Scotland (HES) stopped short of giving its support to the planning application submitted by South Ayrshire Council.

In its response to the application, which was lodged on January 29, HES said: “The McKechnie Institute was built as a library in the later 19th century and is listed at Category B.

“A lift is proposed to be inserted in the highly stylised main hall space.

"This is an important space, however we acknowledge that the lift’s visual and physical impacts have been minimised as far as possible.

“The institute was built as a public building; this remains an important part of its significance, and we accept this proposal on balance, because of the benefits of making the first floor of the museum accessible to all.

“Our view is that the proposals do not raise historic environment issues of national significance and therefore we do not object.

“However, our decision not to object should not be taken as our support for the proposals.”

Munro Architects outlined the project plans, stating: “The purpose of the proposed project is the provision of a passenger lift to enable wheelchair access to first floor in general and the gallery space at first floor.

“The project is in response to a request by a regular visitor to the museum and gallery and user of a motorised wheelchair for access to first floor spaces. At present there are no facilities for disabled access to first floor.

“In order to minimise impact to the structure and furnishes of the Listed B property a passenger lift is proposed to be located in the reception area close to the main entrance and centred on a column bay.”

The architects insisted the main structural features of the building, namely the vaulted walls supported by columns with decorated capitals will be unaffected by the proposals.

Their statement continues: “The proposed lift has been carefully selected not to be oversized but to be capable of accommodating a motorised wheel chair.

“The lift is proposed to have glazed panels on three sides at ground floor level to minimise its visual impact. At first floor the lift will be largely enclosed within existing and minimally amended walls.

“The lift is to be contained entirely within first floor level and not penetrate the ceiling.

“Existing timber doors and fielded timber wall panelling at both floor levels will remain, with a door at each level retained but made lock fast.”

Planning officials have given the application an 'internal target date' of March 25 for a decision.