£525m Loudoun Castle transformation plans rejected
Plans to transform the former family Loudoun Castle theme park into a £525 million holiday and leisure destination have been rejected by East Ayrshire Council, though the door has been left open for future approval.
Deemed to be ‘of national significance’ by council planners, phase one of the much-anticipated development on the outskirts of Galston was set to create a brand new Loudoun distillery, around 1,000 new energy efficient homes, a renovated and stabilised castle building and a plan for the conversion of the castle itself into a 4/5 star hotel.
Initial plans for the project were rejected by councillors in May 2016, after being called in by Scottish Government ministers in 2015, with elected officials saying they needed more information on the proposals.
A masterplan was then requested from developers Loudoun Woods Homes.
However councillors at last week’s planning meeting took the advice of council planners to reject the plan saying there was simply not enough information before them at present to justify giving the proposals the green light.
Objections surrounded concerns that developers would erect several hundred houses, stabilise the ancient castle, then do no more.
Planning boss Michael Keane said the overall conclusion was that they were not able to answer key fundamental questions that had been raised by the developers’ lack of detail.
“But if more information is given we would reconsider our recommendation for refusal,” he said.
“The door is still open,” said, “but they (the developers) must fill in the gaps.”
The development was set to create 100 new apprenticeship opportunities and 2500 jobs across construction and operations.
If plans had been approved, it was anticipated work would begin on site in 2019.