PLANS to change the former Malcolm Sargent House into 69 apartments has been given the green light despite receiving a large amount of backlash.

The proposed application for the recent site that was a holiday home for sick children, now has approval to create 69 retirement apartments for people over the age of 70, with packages of care and support – including a serviced restaurant, sun terrace and a visitor’s guest lounge.

Situated on Links Road, in Prestwick, the accommodation facility received some controversy from objectors, mainly relating to the “poor design” and that it would be “inappropriate” to the greenbelt which lies around the development site.

Speaking on behalf of Ayrshire Golf Scotland at the recent Regulatory Panel meeting last week, Ken Goodwin explained that the application was disappointing and misleading.

He said: “We are disappointed and frustrated at the content that has been presented in the reports - it is misleading.

“The economic impact is a place for concern. Prestwick Golf Club is very popular for people to come along and take photographs – this would be overshadowed by this development.

“In a study, it has been shown that Ayrshire golf brings in around £17 million to the economy, with £4 million per year to the local area of Prestwick.

“Links Road was made a conservation area earlier this year – we believe that the density of the building is too big and is at odds with the area. A building with fewer floors would be much more sympathetic.”

Mike Tomlinson, Vice Chairman of Prestwick North Community Council, added: “The site is unique and is allocated as a historical site. We consider the site, with the greenbelt, as the jewel and crown.

“We believe that this site should only be developed with a landmark building, worthy of being near to the birth place of golf.

“Our prime objection is that the proposal is of poor design and it doesn’t respond to the jewel and the crown site – it is a bland design that is inappropriate to the greenbelt.

“There is also inadequate parking spaces for 69 flats – people in their 70s are looking to retain their cars and at £250,000 for a flat, I would expect a car parking space.”

There were also concerns raised by objectors with the development site being so close to Prestwick Golf Course, that the dangers of the golf balls being hit near potential residents were “real and significant” and they wanted to see “adequate safety measures that will minimise the risk of injuries”.

On the application, there were a number of supporting comments, stating that if the proposal went ahead, they would be interested in purchasing an apartment.

Cllr Convery moved the motion to approve the application subject to conditions.

He concluded: “Whether you like the design of the application or not – I live near to one similar in Troon and it has been quite successful. I would go to the recommendations to accept with conditions.”