The transformation of a former hotel and pub in Ayr into a cancer charity's drop-in centre will "enhance the area and bring back into use a vacant building", according to council officials.

Ayrshire Cancer Support is to turn the former St. Andrews Hotel, on Prestwick Road, into a centre for day services such as therapies, counselling and support groups.

Planners pointed out that the change of use of the property would be less ‘intensive’ than its previous operation as a hotel/pub.

They also pointed out that, although the building is not listed, it is nonetheless a historically valuable property.

The proposals will see an existing flat-roofed extension to the hotel demolished to make way for a new extension. 

In a report confirming approval of the charity's planning application, South Ayrshire Council planning officers state: “The change of use of the building from a hotel and public house is considered acceptable as its proposed use is considered less intensive than that of its former use.

The centre will be open on weekdays between 9am and 5pm, providing space for "offices, counselling services, complementary therapies, support groups including relaxation, talk therapy, cancer specific, play therapy, and a drop-in facility for information/referral to services for cancer patients and their families.

The report continues: “Although the building is not listed or sited within a conservation area, it is a sizeable building with baronial character and appearance, and unique within the streetscape.”

Planners also said that, while the planned extension was a ‘contrast’ to original building, both its position to the rear of the main building and similar extensions to neighbouring properties negated the impact.

“The proposals will not adversely impact any neighbouring properties in terms of privacy or amenity.

“The proposal represents a less intensive use of the premises which will operate 9am to 5pm week days only, and will not have a night time economy, as that of the public house/ hotel.

“It is considered that the proposals shall enhance the area and bring back into use a vacant building within the town.”