A secret 60-page masterplan for the multi-million pound transformation of Monikie and Crombie country parks has surfaced days after a public consultation closed on the controversial project.
Consultants completed the feasibility study almost a year ago – but none of its detail has been shared with the public.
And most Angus councillors are also still in the dark on the wide-ranging proposals despite the authority lining up a business case for millions of Levelling Up Fund cash to take the scheme forward.
It’s led to the recent public consultation on the far-reaching proposals being branded “nonsense”.
The Glamis Consultancy, which specialises in tourism and economic development, led the creation of the £12,000 feasibility study.
Monikie and Crombie currently draw around 300,000 visitors in total each year.
But the consultants suggested that developing the two parks into an ‘Angus destination’ could boost numbers and generate millions of pounds for operator Angus Alive.
The masterplan suggests using the old railway line to link the two parks.
Monikie was identified as an “excitement” destination with more extreme activities for families.
But there has already been a furious backlash to what critics fear could become a Center Parcs or Landmark-style attraction.
£1.75million income projection
The consultants’ report suggests the scale and type of development which could be considered.
- 15 Camping pitches
- 24 hook ups for motorhomes – 12 at each park
- Eight lodges for rental and 22 glamping pods
- Tower/forest walk similar to crowd-pulling attractions across Europe and America
- Retail outlets
The study suggests accommodation alone could generate around £1 million a year for Angus Alive.
And the projected annual income rises to £1.75m when all the other elements are added.
Consultees in the study included VisitScotland, Leisure and Culture Dundee and the Eden Project, which is bringing a £130m attraction to the City of Discovery in
The consultants said: “In short, Angus has two country parks which could form one destination and be promoted as such.
“The two country parks are currently significantly underperforming in terms of revenue generated although visitor numbers are very high.
“Creating a master plan which drives a major capital investment program will generate significant increases in expenditure and visitor numbers in the longer term.”
Angus Council launched the Monikie and Crombie consultation in October.
At that time is said the idea was “very much in the first phase of exploration”.
But the council confirmed Dundee consultants Urban Foresight were engaged this summer to develop the idea.
There has been public anger over the lack of detail around the plans and in the consultation.
Consultation a “nonsense”
Local objector Graeme Gorrie said: “It doesn’t surprise me at all that this document exists.
“The many references in Angus Alive board minutes to consultants, planning workshops and feasibility studies, all going back more than a year, all pointed towards something substantial.
“The surprise is that this level of detail exists – and has done for some time – and the public have been told absolutely nothing about it.
“These are two public bodies, using public money, to put together a bid to try to develop public assets.
“So why were the public not involved before October when this has clearly been going on for a very long time.
“The concept that what we have just had is a public engagement is a nonsense.”
Angus Council say the consultation drew more than 1,700 responses.
A spokesperson added: “Consultants presented their findings to us this week and these are now being considered in advance of a meeting with internal stakeholders and prior to the scheduling of a public meeting with Monikie & Newbigging Community Council.
“Commissioning and work on the Glamis Consultancy masterplan to look at how the country parks might best be developed to support a range of activities were undertaken in 2022.
“The cost for this was approximately £12,000.
“Information gathered was provided to consultants Urban Foresight to inform the work they are carrying out in developing next steps, and in identifying and applying for appropriate funding streams.”