Full planning permission and listed building consent has now been secured for plans to create a hydrotherapy and wellness centre in a historic Barrhead building.

An application was submitted in March 2023 to change the use of the former St Andrew’s Church into the centre including a swimming pool, cafe, viewing gallery and soft play area.

The proposals also outlined plans for an associated residential apartment and garden including associated screening, patio and external stairs, and an extension to the rear of the building as well as the re-roofing and alterations of the former ancillary buildings to the rear to form an upper floor.

A total of 16 car-parking spaces were proposed to the front and side of the former church building.

The applicant, a Mr James Allan of Hamilton, also proposed landscaping to the front of the building.

The application site comprises the former church building, the former church hall, and other associated buildings and lies on the south side of Barrhead Main Street.

The ancillary buildings are all located to the rear of the principal church building and are linked to it by a 1960s flat-roofed extension.

The original buildings date from 1846 and all the buildings fall under a category B listing.

The swimming pool is proposed to be located on the ground floor in the main body of the former church building, with the viewing gallery, cafe, soft play area and staff rest/training rooms located on the balcony level.

The hydrotherapy unit, including the hydrotherapy pool, is to be located within ground floor area of the former church hall building.

The remainder of the ground floor area of the former ancillary buildings is to be occupied by toilet facilities and changing areas and a plant room.

The proposed residential apartment is to be located on the newly formed upper level over the former hall and ancillary buildings to the rear.

It comprises a living/dining/kitchen area, two bedrooms and two additional rooms.

The garden area associated with the apartment is to be located adjacent to it, in the western part of the site. 

Access to the swimming pool will be on the basis of attending various specialist classes, including swimming lessons, life-saving, overcoming fear of water, etc.

The use of the hydrotherapy pool is proposed to be by appointment only.

The main user groups are envisaged to be children with additional needs, those with sensory issues and physical disabilities, adults with additional needs, the elderly, sports clinics, and private one to one swimming lessons.

Three representations were received in the response to the plans which indicated objections on a variety of grounds such as the change being detrimental to the character and amenity of the area, the impact on public road safety and the environmental impact of a swimming pool.

Planning permission, however, was approved by East Renfrewshire Council on Tuesday, May 28 subject to 15 separate conditions which are listed on the council’s planning website.

As well as full planning permission, listed building consent was also sought for internal and external alterations to the former church building, including the extension, the installation of replacement windows, and the installation of air source heat pumps and associated equipment to form the centre and residential apartment.

An application for listed building consent was submitted in March 2023 to East Renfrewshire Council and approved on Friday, June 21.

The green light was given for this subject to the condition that the development shall not begin until details of materials to be used on all external surfaces of the building and hard surfaces have been submitted to and approved in writing by the planning authority.

In response to the application for listed building consent, Historic Environment Scotland said they welcomed the opportunity to re-use the listed building.

Whilst not indicating an objection to the proposal, the body recommended that the proposed replacement windows should be timber of metal-framed as existing.