Glasgow & West Scotland

Derelict Loudoun Castle eyed as centrepiece to Ayrshire golf project

Derelict Loudoun Castle could be transformed into a five-star hotel as part of a £300m redevelopment that also includes a golf course and academy.

The site near Galston in East Ayrshire has lain dormant since the closure of Loudoun Castle Theme Park in 2010.

Now Ayrshire-based Vicon UK has announced that it will submit a planning application for the 600 acres.

The company believes it has local support for the plan it said would create hundreds of construction jobs.

Chief executive Neil Rattray said: "These plans have been created in consultation with the owner of the site, with the interests of Galston at heart, and we are convinced that the people of Ayrshire and beyond will benefit hugely from this new investment in Scotland.

Whisky distillery

"There has already been significant consultation with the local community and we are confident we have its backing for these plans."

Loudoun Castle Theme Park opened in the grounds of the 19th Century country house in 1995, but a number of the park rides have already been sold to other theme parks around the UK since its closure.

Investment, consulting and project management company Vicon wants to redevelop the castle itself as the "centrepiece" of a development that proposes "a world-class championship-standard 18-hole golf course, clubhouse and educational golf academy, new whisky distillery, homes, retail and a food and drink centre of excellence".

The development would be powered by "clean renewable energy", with a renewable energy plan being proposed for the site.

Vicon, which has backing from investor FML, has submitted a notice of intention to lodge a detailed planning application for the golf course and golf academy, with an in-principle application for the mixed-use development.

'Realistic proposal'

It said it would now work with council planning chiefs - Kilmarnock-based Thomson Architects have been appointed to create the blueprint - and consult with the local community in order to progress the planning applications.

"Since the closure of the theme park, there has been a great deal of interest in the future of the site," said Mr Rattray.

"We have been working tremendously hard over a period of many months to ensure we attracted the right investor and have put together a realistic proposal that will deliver significant economic benefit to East Ayrshire.

"We are committed to making this project a success and we will now work with our partners and stakeholders, such as East Ayrshire Council, to deliver a stunning development which will become a landmark centre of excellence destination in Scotland."

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