An ambitious £100 million project to expand Crieff Hydro Hotel and transform the wider economy is hanging in the balance.
Stephen Leckie, chief executive of the Strathearn landmark, said he was ready to walk away from the Crieff Hydro East project unless council chiefs can show him they have a “hunger” for it.
Perth and Kinross Council has twice rejected his plan, saying Mr Leckie and his development team had submitted incomplete paperwork to support it.
The Crieff Hydro East scheme would see 200 holiday lodges, a 100-bed care home, assisted living accommodation for around 100 residents, leisure facilities, a farm shop and a café built on land near Gilmerton.
The council rejected the plan in July 2016 because the developers had not submitted a report on air quality on time.
That decision was upheld by the local authority’s local review body in December last year.
Mr Leckie, who runs the Crieff Family of Hotels, which includes Peebles Hydro, the Isles of Glencoe Hotel, the Yorkshire Hotel and Hotel Ballachulish, has said the project could create around 300 jobs, as well as injecting £25 million a into the economy.
He said he met council bosses around a month ago and was prepared to hold one final meeting to decide if it was worth his time re-submitting the Crieff Hydro East application.
“I am totally cheesed off by the way the council has dealt with this,” he said.
“They have rejected the Crieff Hydro East plan twice in four years and I find that quite unsavoury. We were told the application was knocked back as it was incomplete but the paperwork amounted to more than 1,200 pages.
“If the council can convince me they are hungry for a plan like Crieff Hydro East and that they want to back entrepreneurs like me who are keen to invest millions into the local economy then I may re-submit. However, if I get the opposite feeling I will have to say ‘I think enough is enough guys,’ and that will be it.”
He continued: “To be honest, it’s not my top priority now. We will – and have – invested in other areas of the UK.
“I met with council chiefs, including Councillor Ian Campbell, leader of Perth and Kinross Council, around a month ago but have still to hear back from them about a further meeting.
“The plan is up for grabs but the local authority needs to show me they are keen to press ahead with this proposal.
“I have to consider the cost of re-submitting, which will be more than £1,000.”
A council spokesperson said the issue was in hand., adding: “Officers are preparing a list of areas that require to be addressed in any re-submission of the application.
“The applicant’s agent was informed of this last week, and we will meet with them and Mr Leckie in the near future to discuss the matter further.”