Controversial plan to install security gates at both ends of Ayr's Lorne Arcade set to be kicked out by councillors

The Lorne Arcade in Ayr
The Lorne Arcade in Ayr -Credit:Wood Property Group Ltd

Controversial plans to install security gates at both ends of the Lorne Arcade in Ayr are expected to be refused next week, Ayrshire Live can exclusively reveal.

Councillors on the local authority’s Regulatory Panel (Planning) have been advised to reject the proposals when they meet on Thursday, May 9. Ayrshire Live previously told how arcade owners, Wood Property Group Ltd, lodged plans to install aluminium gates at both ends of the arcade.

According to the proposals the gates would be in operation from 8pm to 6.30am weekdays (except for a Thursday where the shutters would close at 9.30pm) and between 8pm and 7am at weekends.

If approved, then members of the public wouldn't be able to access the shortcut from High Street into Arthur Street - and vice-versa. As a result, the proposals prompted a huge backlash and sparked 112 objections to South Ayrshire Council’s online planning portal.

Some claimed that business operations in Arthur Street would be "killed off within months" if the gates were installed.

Others cited personal safety concerns of having to negotiate a longer route between the two streets at night.

But the Wood Property Group, who last year announced a six-figure makeover at the arcade, claimed access through the site is “not public” and there is “no asserted right of way through the arcade.” They also defended their plans, claiming the levels of mess, dog fouling, vagrancy and general anti-social behaviour at night was at “unacceptable levels” and their “key priority” was to address it.

The arcade benefitted recently from a significant makeover
The arcade benefitted recently from a significant makeover -Credit:Wood Property Group Ltd

They also issued a statement on social media saying there was “no asserted right of way through the arcade” and access through the historic thoroughfare is “not public.”

The proposals were also "needed," according to the arcade owners, in order to “prioritise the properties and shops” contained within the site. However, council papers say a right of way though the arcade DOES exist has been in place for DECADES.

The papers said: “A right of way, in which access by all non-motorised means is exercisable under the Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003, exists through the Lorne Arcade, and has done so for at least 60 years. The shutters, when in the closed position, will obstruct this right of way to the detriment of public access in the locale.”

The Fort, Seafield and Wallacetown Community Council made a representation “in support” of the application, “subject to two conditions being met,” specifically that confirmation was received that the Lorne Arcade was in “private ownership” and that there was “no right of way or thoroughfare” through the arcade and that the closure of the shutters was “in accordance” with the hours suggested by the applicant.

But the planning papers reveal: “As the Planning Service considers that a right of way exists through the Lorne Arcade, the representation was registered as an objection on the basis that condition 1 of the conditional support afforded by the FSWCC to the proposals could not be met.”

The Scottish Rights of Way Access Society, an independent charity that seeks to monitor, protect and promote rights of way in Scotland, also objected to the application as the shutters would ‘prevent access through a right of way.’

In conclusion council papers said: “It is considered that there is a right of way affording pedestrian and cycle access through the Lorne Arcade between High Street and Arthur Street, and the installation of shutters to the arcade to improve security would obstruct that access and affect interconnectivity and permeability between streets and facilities within Ayr Town Centre, to the detriment of the locale.

“Given the above assessment, and having balanced the rights of the applicant against the general interest, it is recommended that the application be refused."

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