A MEDITATION retreat near Saline that seeks to find "inner peace for a compassionate world" has been given planning permission by Fife Council.

Mark Baugh has been given the go-ahead to make changes at Cherry Tree Lodge, a private home that added a B&B in 2011 and a therapy centre two years later.

To improve the "wellbeing tourism" offering, he'll now turn it from a four-bedroom operation to a seven-bedroom group retreat with additional accommodation, new doors and windows.

Permission was also granted to convert an outbuilding into a dwelling with garage and a workshop.

Mr Baugh's application explained: "Since 2018, Cherry Tree Lodge (CTL) has transitioned successfully to a retreat centre.

"External facilitators offer yoga, meditation, art and self-development courses as part of wellbeing tourism.

"CTL has an established event programme and receives excellent reviews from workshop participants as evidenced on its website and on Trip Advisor.

"Events have been put on hold during the height of the coronavirus pandemic.

"In line with its aim of ‘inner peace for a compassionate world’ CTL purposefully holds a space for groups such as awakening feminine leaders and Candu, a Dundee cancer support network which received public funding and Care 4 Carers, an Edinburgh based charity."

The lodge is in Balgonar, to the north of Saline, in a peaceful spot in the countryside with a garden, five acres of paddocks, 1,600 indigenous trees and a pond.

Mr Baugh said wellbeing tourism was "an emerging niche market" that had been highlighted specifically by Visit Scotland and that the retreat covered the main components, while evolving the business model would also provide local job opportunities.

They have already received three green tourism awards and he added: "CTL is aiming to consolidate its successful rural business with wellbeing and ecology at its core.

"It promotes the natural environment, is easily accessible for the Scottish Central Belt and has a low carbon footprint through, for example, its biomass boiler.

"This proposal is being submitted to ensure infrastructure is in place that allows sustainability of the business.

"The increase from four to seven guest bedrooms will accommodate the anticipated demand for more single accommodation in the post-COVID era.

"It also addresses CTL’s need for a larger group space."

Mr Baugh said he hoped to submit another application, at a later date, to develop part of the paddock with a contemplative hut project, removable group space and log shed.