Gleneagles has secured crucial support for an expansive holiday resort in rural Perthshire that could create more than 200 jobs and deliver a £5 million boost to the Scottish economy.
Owners of the world-famous hotel want to open two restaurants, shops and a pub, as well as scores of lodges, teepees and studio apartments across more than 250 acres of land near Auchterarder.
Plans for the luxury development – a stone’s throw from the hotel – were drawn up after London-based Ennismore bought the Easterton Farm site in 2016. The farm had been on the market with a £1.45 million price tag.
Developers say the resort will be modelled on the Soho Farmhouse, a celebrity haunt and private member’s retreat in the Cotswolds.
Now, Perth and Kinross Council planning chiefs have backed the proposal, hailing it as a major boost to the local economy.
Next week, they will urge councillors to formally grant planning permission, despite concern raised by locals about light pollution and inadequate roads.
The council’s interim development quality manager Anne Condliffe said: “Capital investment in a development of this nature is to be welcomed.
“This particular development would have a well-established upscale brand behind it and would appear to be on trend in terms of its offer and positioning as an outdoor tourism destination.”
An economic study shows around 188 temporary jobs will be created during construction, plus more than 60 permanent posts when the resort is up and running.
It is estimated that guests at the resort would generate net additional annual expenditure of £3.4 million. About £699,000 of this would be spent on shopping, entertainment and dining out in the wider Perth and Kinross area.
Ms Condliffe said the development would be a “welcome addition to the Perthshire destination offer”.
In her letter to planning officers, Katherine Huggett of Blackford Community Council said light pollution was a major concern.
She also said the road leading to the site was in poor condition and not suitable for an increase in traffic, noting that public transport in the area was also too restrictive.
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“This is a posh camping site that will be used by owners of expensive vehicles who will not want to walk or catch a bus to the site,” she said.
“Therefore travel by car remains the most viable transport method for staff as well as visitors.”
A spokesman for agents Savills said the design would combine Gleneagles’ established luxury branding with “a rustic outdoor experience”.
“A key consideration in the design was the desire to create a secluded and peaceful environment which complements the surrounding landscape and allows guests to appreciate the Perthshire landscape and Gleneagles hospitality,” he added.
Barns would be built to host events like weddings, parties and corporate occasions.
Gleneagles’ managing director Bernard Murphy said: “We look to complement and expand the existing Gleneagles offering with an authentic, luxury rural camp experience that will make the most of the stunning natural assets on the site.”