A staff and volunteer welfare building could be built to help “reawaken” a Musselburgh visitor attraction.

Earmarked for historic Newhailes estate, the new facility would include a gardener’s workshop/storage as well as volunteer/community use space.

The National Trust for Scotland (NTS), which runs the house and gardens, has applied to East Lothian Council for planning permission for the multi-use building, which is part of the Newhailes Revival Project.

This is a phased programme to “restore and reinterpret” major portions of the landscape and house, as well as provide “exciting” new features and facilities for visitors.

An access and design statement said: “The project also highlights the history of the site, both its remarkable designed landscape and its important role within the Scottish Enlightenment.”

The house and stables at Newhailes are Category A-listed, and its garden buildings are Category-B listed.

The house was designed and built by architect James Smith in 1686. It was acquired by the Dalrymple family in 1709, and taken over by NTS in 1997.

The access and design statement explained: “To help deliver and maintain the reawakening of Newhailes, NTS require a staff and volunteer welfare centre to facilitate the restoration, improvement and maintenance of the grounds. The Gardener’s Outbuilding will provide a base for staff members working in the landscape but also a hub for volunteer groups to gather and participate.”

The statement added: “On a practical level, a fit-for-purpose building is also needed to provide dedicated and workshop space, freeing up remaining areas of the stables courtyard for further redevelopment.”

NTS expects the growth of the groundskeeping and gardening projects to require six full-time staff members.

“There is already a highly successful external volunteer programme which regularly brings in around a dozen additional helpers,” said the NTS.

“As such, the outbuilding will need to provide enough space for up to 20 people to gather inside.

“In addition, larger groups of up to 50 people can be expected to attend occasional volunteering events. These larger groups can be accommodated in sheltered external space but don’t necessarily require a heated internal space.”

It continued: “NTS has expressed a desire for a more community-orientated plan for the future of Newhailes and the proposed outbuilding could form a vital catalyst for those ambitions. It needs to cater for the needs of the regular staff members as well as a diverse range of volunteers of all age groups, backgrounds and abilities.

“The gardener’s outbuilding would be part of a maintenance yard with composting bays, fuel tanks and turning and washing areas for vehicles and tractors.”

The new facility would be built in the northern corner of the Category B-listed walled garden, in an area of about half an acre.

The access and design statement added: “The proposals are to organise and improve the existing uses of the site for material layout, storage and to create a multi-purpose building for storage, changing and washing facilities, office/meeting rooms, kitchen and gathering space.”