By Kristy Dorsey
Proposals have been submitted for a £33.8 million tourism and leisure development, including a four-star hotel, in a bid to draw future visitors into Perthshire.
The plans for the site at West Kinfauns are being put forward by plant machinery group Morris Leslie, which has its headquarters in the village on the outskirts of Perth. The firm moved its head office to West Kinfauns in 2019 after acquiring the former Edrington building, now known as Caledonian House.
The development proposals includes a hotel with between 120 and 150 guest rooms with views across the River Tay which will “seek to accommodate an internationally recognised brand”. There will also be lodge-style cabins for larger groups on longer stays, plus a museum and retail space.
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The museum will tell the story of transport and vehicles over the last century, with a focus on the impact of those from Scotland and the local Perthshire area. Retail space will be provided “at a scale that will complement” the proposed development, the existing Caledonian House and the village of Kinfauns.
Chairman Morris Leslie, who started the company in 1974 from a farm in Rait, Perthshire, said the West Kinfauns development is a “perfect opportunity” to draw tourism to the area on a local and national basis.
“Well-connected to the surrounding road network, including the A90, this premium destination will provide a gateway to Perth, to the surrounding area and beyond,” he said.
“The proposed scheme is of a scale that can support additional development and is ideally placed in terms of transport connection. It is also in a beautiful location with wonderful views.”
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The development will accommodate up to 80,000 visitors annually and is expected to support 170 direct on-site jobs once completed. A Proposal of Application Notice (PAN) has been submitted to Perth and Kinross Council which notes the intention to submit a full planning application following a minimum 12-week period of consultation.
West Kinfauns has been identified as a location for a proposed park and ride scheme into Perth, which has planning consent. It is Morris Leslie’s intention to incorporate that facility into the larger development if it is given the go-ahead.
The company sells plant machinery on a global scale and operates a plant hire company with a nationwide network of depots. It also has a property portfolio and an auction division and has a team of more than 300 staff across 14 sites.