Meteor Property Fund has submitted a planning application for regeneration of the Taymouth Castle Estate in Highland Perthshire.
The planning application – which is a variation on a previously approved scheme - will restore the famous Taymouth Castle converting it into a top of the range, luxury hotel as well as adding a number of new leisure facilities including three spas, a restaurant and equestrian centre. There are plans to restore the existing James Braid-designed golf course to reintroduce many of his trademark design features while bringing the course up to modern championship standards.
The proposals include the introduction of both an extensive landscape management plan and a habitat management plan designed to restore the Estate to its former glory while protecting its flora and fauna.

Luxury Housing
In order to fund the restoration works, Meteor also hopes to get consent to build an increased number of luxury estate properties in the 450-acre Estate. These would be constructed in phases alongside the restoration of the Castle. It already has planning consent to build 89 estate properties and the planning application includes plans for 71 more.
The application follows the successful public exhibition at the Reading Room in Kenmore, which took place earlier this year (8 & 9 February 2013). Over 300 people attended the exhibition to view and discuss the plans with the development team.
Feedback from attendees at the exhibition, together with input from statutory bodies (such as Historic Scotland and Scottish Natural Heritage) and other stakeholders, has been carefully considered and, where appropriate and possible, incorporated into the proposals within the planning application.
The location and style of some of the estate properties have, for example, been altered to minimise their impact on the Estate, its historic landscape and natural environment. Most notably a property in front of Apollo’s Temple has been repositioned to improve access to the historic structure. In addition, a number of properties near Newhall Kennels have been re-sited to retain sightlines across the Estate from the East Gate entrance.

Public Access
The public exhibition highlighted the importance of access to the Estate to local people. Work has progressed over recent months to clear and reinstate a number of the existing historic footpaths and tracks, which had become overgrown and impassable due to many years of neglect. It is expected that responsible access to the Estate will be allowed – beyond the statutory requirements – and Meteor is working with the local community to decide the best ways of policing this to ensure that everyone’s enjoyment of the Estate is unspoilt.
In addition, people were keen to see the restoration of the Chinese Bridge to reinstate the circular walk. To this end, initial remedial work to ensure that the Chinese Bridge is safe has already been completed and the bridge has reopened. Also, Meteor has moved structural work to the bridge up the development schedule to commence shortly after planning consent is granted with completion by early 2013. Work to repair some of the smaller bridges within the Estate has also been brought forward in the schedule to further improve access.
Meteor is also looking into the technical aspects of the repair and ongoing maintenance of the Estate’s Curling Pond and intends to tidy up the surrounding area to make it more presentable.
Meteor is hoping that planning consent will be granted in the early Summer 2013 and work to implement the changes proposed to the existing consent would be programmed to start on site shortly afterwards. The aim is to have completed key elements of the proposals by 2013, as it is vital to the success of the scheme that it takes advantage of the 2016 Ryder Cup.

Economic Impact
The regeneration of Taymouth Castle Estate would have a major impact on the Perthshire economy both during construction and in the future. Heritage décor specialists Mackay Decorators Perth Ltd have already started preparatory works on the repair of the ornate ceilings in the Principal Rooms within the Castle. Some 12 other companies based in Kenmore, Aberfeldy, Glenfarg, Ballinluig as well as Dundee, Stirling and Perth are undertaking initial works. It is anticipated that, if planning consent is granted, up to 20 local companies will be involved in the project, with around 230 workmen on site at the peak of activity.
Martin Mortimer, Meteor’s Development Manager, commented: “We are delighted that the development is moving forward and submitting the planning application is an important step towards the restoration of this important and unique castle. Both ourselves and our consultants met with many interested parties during the Public Exhibition which we found very helpful. We have listened carefully to the feedback we received from local people and statutory bodies and have amended our plans where possible to take account of their comments.
“This development will provide a major boost to a number of local companies that we are lining up to carry out the works as well as the wider economy. The project’s financial viability relies on completing key elements in time for the Ryder Cup and we are working with Perth & Kinross Council in order to hopefully obtain the amended permission and start work this summer.”

Golf Course
In view of the current and expected workings in the grounds the members of Taymouth Golf Club have been advised that the golf course managers, Kenmore Hotel, will not be operating the course this season. It will therefore be closed for play 'from 9 April 2013'.

 

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