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Revival for former theme park

£450m plan to build leisure resort in Ayrshire

Loudoun CastleAn ambitious £450m plan has been unveiled to build a holiday resort and new community around the former theme park at Loudoun Castle in Ayrshire.

The Loudoun Castle Project has submitted plans to East Ayrshire Council for the creation of a two-phased holiday and leisure destination that will bring up to 2,500  jobs to the area.

The masterplan will see the 610-acre park transformed into an all-weather resort featuring 450 luxury lodges, 12 glamping pitches, a lake and leisure development, including indoor sports facilities and an indoor subtropical water park. The site will also include a new distillery.

The plan includes stabilising the derelict Loudoun Castle and leading conservation specialists will be assessing what can be done with the building.

The developers will build 1,025 homes, with proceeds used to help restoration of he castle buildings.

If planning is approved work would begin onsite in 2016 with an anticipated opening during 2018 and other phases following.

Development of the huge site (equivalent to 344 football pitches) has been led by private investment firm EIF.

It is anticipated that around 1,000 jobs will be created in the construction process for a period of at least five years with an additional 1,500 long term jobs created through the leisure and retail offering.

Plans for the residential development will feature a mix of housestyles including starter homes, bungalows and three, four and five-bedroom family homes.

David Mace, chairman of The Loudoun Castle Project, said: “A development of this size and scale will provide Scotland and Ayrshire with significant long term economic benefits both in terms of jobs and tourism. The local community and Kilmarnock and Irvine Valley MSP Willie Coffey are delighted that we have assembled such a strong team of professionals that are committed to turning this vision into reality.

“Scottish tourism has had a great year given the international attention the country has received in 2014 through the Commonwealth Games, Ryder Cup and Homecoming Scotland. We are keen to maximise the legacy created, by adding a world class all weather leisure facility and a visitor attraction that has real stand out. We will clearly attract new visitors from home and abroad and positively impact Ayrshire, making the whole of Scotland proud.”

Nick Laister, senior director at RPS planning & development, which is submitting the planning application on behalf of The Loudoun Castle Project, said: “Since the site was allocated in the East Ayrshire Local Plan in 2010, it has been an aspiration of the Council to secure the future of Loudoun Castle as a major tourism destination.

“Having been involved with the planning of the site since the middle of the last decade, I am delighted to be submitting a planning application for a development that is going to realise that vision and have such a significant positive economic impact on the area. This proposal will create a unique, high quality resort in this dramatic location with the restoration of the Grade A listed Castle at its heart.

“We have spent the last 18 months consulting with the local community and refining the plans and we look forward to working with East Ayrshire Council and other local stakeholders to make this hugely important development a reality.”

Key partners also  include global programme management and construction consultancy Turner & Townsend and specialist castle and heritage consultant Francis Shaw.

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