South Scotland

Dumfries and Galloway health board in five-star hotel deal

Crichton Hall Image copyright NHS Dumfries and Galloway
Image caption Crichton Hall opened in Dumfries in 1839

A health board is set to sell part of a former psychiatric hospital site for conversion into a five-star hotel.

NHS Dumfries and Galloway is in the process of selling Crichton Hall and surrounding grounds to the owners of the Fonab Castle Hotel in Pitlochry.

It is hoped the project could create more than 250 jobs.

The Crichton Hall opened in Dumfries in 1839 as a mental health facility but has most recently been used as the board's administrative headquarters.

Image copyright NHS Dumfries and Galloway
Image caption The building has been used as administrative headquarters by the health board in recent years

NHS Dumfries and Galloway said work was expected to start soon on the conversion of the 12-acre site.

It is hoped vocational training in hospitality can be provided via the nearby Dumfries and Galloway College.

In a statement, prospective new owners Jed and Joanne Clark, said: "When we visited Crichton Hall and reviewed the full scope of opportunity during the sale process, we could not help but be engrossed by the many benefits a destination hotel and spa would bring to the Dumfries and Galloway region.

"Whilst we totally recognised the challenges we would face delivering a destination hotel, we could equally identify how our knowledge, experience and approach to historic building restorations could create another five star hotel and spa equalling Fonab Castle Hotel's breathtaking experience.

"Communities are at the heart of what we develop, and it was clear to see what our investment and strategy would do for the people of Dumfries and Galloway."

Image copyright NHS Dumfries and Galloway
Image caption It is hoped the move can create hundreds of jobs

NHS Dumfries and Galloway chief executive Jeff Ace said he was pleased to see Crichton Hall move into the hands of people with "such positive plans" for its future.

"This building has served NHS Dumfries and Galloway extremely well over many years, but it is also a very important part of the region's architectural and cultural heritage," he said.

"When we first made plans to sell the building it was very important to us that this was recognised and respected, and that the site was properly cared for, with the hope that it could be developed to its fullest potential.

"I believe that Mr and Mrs Clark's plans for Crichton Hall exceed those ambitions."

He said staff would be sad to leave the building but many would remain at the nearby Mountainhall treatment centre.

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites