Ambitious heritage plans for put together by Prestwick Civic Pride (PCP) could require multiple consultations before any see the light of day.

South Ayrshire Council’s cabinet will decide on undertaking a consultation on proposals that have been put together by the local group.

The council gave the group a grant and, following an initial consultation, the PCP group have developed plans for  a heritage trail, the reinstatement of a steeple at Freeman’s Hall, together with proposed changes of use of the hall and adjacent cottages, conservation of the Salt Pans Houses in association with St Nicholas Golf Club, and improvements to Prestwick Seafront.

Despite this considerable work, the group’s efforts will face a series of hurdles if they are to become reality.

The council is clear that, as the PCP group didn’t follow statutory processes to develop the proposals, it would not be able to endorse the plans or commit funding despite pushing forward with the consultation.

Should this proposed consultation receive positive feedback then the capital works outlined it would have to be giving the go ahead by senior officers before another formal council consultation on a Prestwick Masterplan – the formation of  which is also being decided by Cabinet.

The masterplan consultation would not be the end of matters.

With the Freeman’s Hall and much of the Prestwick promenade comprised of Common Good property and land, a public consultation would be required if the plans required a disposal or change of use of the land.

This could see a requirement to get the permission of a Sheriff to go ahead with the plans.

And a final hurdle could be faced if there are any proposals to ‘appropriate or dispose of open spaces used for public recreation’ there is a separate statutory requirement to notify the public and consider any objections before proceeding.

The report to cabinet outlines the work of the PCP in developing the plans.

It states: “PCP have worked with property owners and have commissioned and arranged installation of heritage plaques to form a heritage trail around Prestwick.

“PCP also commissioned a feasibility study to look at potential steeple designs for the Freeman’s Hall and alternative uses and proposals for the Freeman’s Hall and Cottage.

“Three design options are indicated for a new steeple attached to the Freeman’s Hall.

“Should the design proposals be taken forward then as the proposals are developed further then costs would require to be updated and refined.

“The Freeman Hall proposals involve internal alterations to provide for a wider range of community use and external alterations to provide for landscaping and an extension to the Cottage to provide community space.”

PCP have also commissioned a feasibility study for seafront and promenade enhancements of Prestwick.

The proposals involve options for redevelopment of the former Bathing Lake, improvements to promenade gateways at Links Road, Burgh Road, Grangemuir Road, proposals to improve paths, walls, signage and street furniture and an arts strategy.

The report states that way the proposals have been developed cannot be simply implemented.

It continues: “Given that these strategies are not Council developed strategies and have not followed required diligence, the Council cannot endorse these strategies as a basis for informing the regeneration of Prestwick.

“However, the proposals can form an initial starting point for the Council in development of a Prestwick Masterplan.

“With proposals set within professionally developed feasibility plans, the proposals are well developed and the public feedback on the proposals could provide very valuable information to assist with understanding the community’s views on how to develop their area.

“To assist with the development of a masterplan for Prestwick, it is considered that there is benefit in consulting with the public on the PCP strategies and it is recommended that a public consultation is commenced on the proposals.”

As the PCP strategies have not been informed by required diligence process, the public consultation requires to make clear that the Council has not endorsed these proposals.

It is recommended that the basis of the public consultation is as an initial

consultation which will assist in informing the development of a council masterplan for Prestwick.

“A council developed masterplan, following required due diligence,

will then be the subject of a further public consultation.”

The report will be considered by cabinet on Tuesday.