Emerging ‘disruptor’ rethinks rejected Scott Brownrigg plans for eco-resort

The Sheffield and London-based outfit, which brings together architecture, landscape design, construction, contracting and eco-tourism expertise, took over from Scott Brownrigg on the £65 million Barony project last year.

In February East Ayrshire councillors had voted 7-6 against the plans for 200 accommodation units in lodges and geodesic domes on the former mine near Auchinleck. The scheme also included a museum dedicated to the people who worked at the mine and the four miners who died there when a shaft collapsed in 1965.

Project backer National Pride subsequently reconsidered its approach and went back to the drawing board, bringing in environmental consultancy Apem and designers Boomhaus – a two-year-old collective which describes itself as a ‘disruptor in the field of construction design and building’. Its directors include Rory Harmer, formerly a partner at Tate Harmer and now also managing director of

The practice’s revised 25,169m² scheme has now been handed planning permission in principle following ‘comprehensive’ new surveys into the site’s ecology, leading to a ‘refinement’ of the masterplan and landscape strategy.

Billed as ‘the first true nature-based wellbeing destination in Europe’, the redrafted scheme – which will still provide 200 rooms for guests and a miners museum – underwent two rounds of public consultation.

According to Boomhaus, the residential units have been repositioned away from the riverbank and certain steep slopes which were difficult to develop on.

Vehicle access and parking has been relocated to the site’s boundary and a new arrival building with the the main reception building reimagined as a cluster of distinct structures.

Planning officers had recommended that East Ayrshire’s planning committee turn down Scott Brownrigg’s plans because of the risk to rare wildlife in the area and because developers had not given enough information about the stability of the land.

The developers had pointed out that three other sets of plans had been given permission on the site over the past 25 years, although none had been built.

The latest application was granted to subject to conditions including the mitigation of any adverse impacts on the biodiverse nature networks and the site’s natural environment.

Irene Bisset, chair of National Pride, said: ‘We understand and accept the imposed conditions [… which] we will achieve through careful planning and design.

‘Our hope is to continue to work collaboratively with all stakeholders to deliver wholly sustainable and ecologically friendly solutions that will achieve the best development outcome for this beautiful site.’

Bisset added: ‘We would also like to recognise and appreciate the significant support of local groups in backing our proposals and to convey our sincere thanks to them for this.’

Work could start on site next January.


Project data

Location The Barony, East Ayrshire
Local authority East Ayrshire Council
Type of project Eco-wellness centre
Client National Pride
Architect Boomhaus
Landscape architect Boomhaus & Exterior Architecture
Planning consultant MacKay Planning
Structural engineer Boomhaus
M&E consultant Boomhaus
Quantity surveyor Boomhaus
Principal designer Boomhaus
Geotechnical consultant RPS
Ecologist SWECO and Apem
Drainage/flooding consultant  SWECO
Communications consultant Orbit
Main contractor TBC
Funding Ese Capital
Tender date TBC
Start on site date Target: January 2025
Completion date TBC
Contract duration TBC
Gross internal floor area 25,169m²
Form of contractTBC
Annual CO2 emissions TBC, but investigating geothermal heat from the water in the old mine shafts which will supply the entire development, plus supply some of the local community.
Total cost circa £65 million