An ambitious plan to host Scotland’s first artificial caving centre in Arbroath has collapsed due to council inaction, it has been claimed.
Selkie Rock director Iain Lilly has called for more clarity on the council’s plans for The West Links park area after he said council managers cold-shouldered his firm’s plans to develop the ageing seaside attractions.
Dr Lilly, whose company previously ran other activities there, said he had worked with officers on a substantial plan called ‘Spirit of Adventure.’
The plan included a dinosaur park, learning centre and a trampoline area, including an artificial caving system.
Dr Lilly said the area is not currently economically viable.
Activities are in a “derelict state” and there is no indoor facility, he added.
He said: “We recognised that a regeneration plan was necessary.
“While we did our best to modernise the activities, the length of the service agreement prevented us from investing in the site.
“The Spirit of Adventure plan was a 10 year re-generation plan that included creating a dinosaur park, building a new learning centre on the footprint of the existing Park Pavilion
“We planned to build a second building. This would house a small trampoline arena that would also include Scotland’s first artificial caving system.”
‘Panic’ in the park
He said talks with council officials broke down after no businesses tendered for the three-year lease the council had offered.
“Having no operator, the council began to panic and re-contacted Selkie Rock, pleading we take on the site,” he said.
“We took this opportunity to re-present the Spirit of Adventure plan to Angus councillors and head of departments.
“We were promised action and nothing happened – more than a year on, we are still waiting for feedback.
“As a result, we too gave up and are now doing other things. It’s a great pity and shows the council have no clear strategy for the site or for tourism in general.”
Selkie Rock closed last year with a loss of 22 seasonal jobs.
Dr Lilly’s comments come after plans to invest £200,000 of Scottish Government funding in a crazy golf course. The West Links plan has split opinion in both the town and the wider county.
Businessman John Kerr, the previous owner of Kerr’s Miniature Railway which closed last year, earlier revealed council decision makers had rejected his plans to rejuvenate the renowned railway attraction, previously part of the park complex.
An Angus Council spokeswoman said: “Options for the further development of the West Links as part of the Arbroath Town Centre Regeneration Fund are currently under consideration.
“They are subject to ongoing discussion with local elected members. No final decision has been made and plans will be submitted in due course.”