Owners of the Loudoun Castle estate in Ayrshire are in talks with Harcourt Developments. They want the developer to join the consortium behind the proposed redevelopment of the site, which housed the former Loudoun Castle theme park. Harcourt has indicated that, subject to a contract being put in place, getting planning permission in principle would allow Loudoun Estate to become its next flagship project.
The Loudoun Woods consortium aims to transform the 576-acre Loudoun estate into a tourism and leisure development, with the castle being restored to become a luxury hotel at the centre of the development.
The Loudoun Woods’ outline planning application also envisages holiday lodges, camping and a range of indoor sports facilities.
Central to financing the scheme will be getting permission to build approximately 1,000 new homes for sale.
The planning application for the Loudoun Woods Resort has been called in for determination by Scottish ministers due to the potential national economic benefit. The inquiry begins in Kilmarnock next week.
If ministers grant permission for the £450m development in principle, the aim is to start stabilisation work on the castle in summer 2018.
The Loudoun Woods consortium is headed by David Mace, who founded the Sea Life concept in the UK. He said: “Loudoun Castle will be an all-weather, world-class holiday destination, which will attract visitors from all over the UK, create major economic benefits for Ayrshire and become a core part of Scotland’s tourism offering.
“We are looking forward to the planning inquiry and, given a positive decision by Scottish ministers, we are aiming to begin works in the summer of 2018 on a project that will transform the economy of this part of Scotland.”
Harcourt Developments is the company behind the Titanic Quarter, which transformed the site of the former Harland & Wolff shipyard in Belfast.
Paul Manning of Harcourt said: “We are engaged in very positive discussions and hope to be able to conclude an agreement to join the Loudoun Woods consortium. The site's historic setting, great transport links and proximity to some of the world’s most famous golf courses, gives it massive potential to become one of the UK’s most successful tourism destinations.”