Often overshadowed by Scotland’s cities and Highland wildernesses, Perthshire is set for a spot on the travel map thanks to a £34m plan that will see the creation of a transport museum to rival Glasgow’s famed Riverside Museum.
The multi-million pound West Kinfauns proposal is a leisure development which aims to include a four-star hotel, lodge-style cabins and a museum telling the story of transport and vehicles over the last century.
Led by plant machinery company Morris Leslie, a Proposal of Application Notice (PAN) has been submitted to Perth and Kinross Council, with an online community consultation due to take place in March. The PAN notes the firm’s intent to submit a planning applications following a 12-week consultation.
If the development gets the go-ahead, it would incorporate a park and ride facility also planned for the site, which already has planning consent.
Morris Leslie, chairman of the Perthshire-based firm, said: “This exciting £33.8 million development provides the perfect opportunity to maximise the potential of the location and 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.
“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.”
As part of the plans, the hotel from “an internationally recognised brand” would include 120-150 guestrooms over four storeys with views of the River Tay.
Retail space would also be provided complement the hotel, as well as the museum, lodges, existing Caledonian House office and the village of Kinfauns.
Perth and Kinross Council leader Murray Lyle said: “This leisure-led development has the potential to make an exciting contribution to the local economy.
“These plans, although at an early stage, are a significant vote of confidence in Perth and Kinross and our ambitious plans for the area, which include the redevelopment of Perth City Hall to house the Stone of Destiny and the creation of the Cross Tay Link Road.”
Morris Leslie claims that the development will increase local employment opportunities, both in construction and once complete.
It has been estimated that once operational the development will support 170 direct on-site jobs including hospitality, retail and leisure roles.
It has also been claimed that it will accommodate up to 80,000 visitors in Perth and Kinross annually, boosting the local visitor economy.
Caroline Warburton, VisitScotland Regional Leadership Director said: “This is an incredibly appealing prospect for Perthshire and for Scotland as a whole, drawing tourists to the marvellous attractions in the area and creating much-needed jobs.
“The delivery of another four-star hotel is particularly exciting.
“A leisure-led development such as this has the potential to support and bolster the leisure-stay market in Perth, acting as a hub for longer stay tourism as well as a base for day trips.
“We look forward to following these proposals.”
The proposal comes after it was confirmed that the Stone of Destiny is to return ‘home’ to Perth in 2024 after the Queen approved the move.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon last month revealed that it will be moved from Edinburgh Castle in 2024 to become the centrepiece of Perth’s new £26.5 million museum at City Hall.
Speaking in Holyrood, Ms Sturgeon told MSPs she was “very pleased” the stone would be returning to its “spiritual home”.
Ms Sturgeon said: “The Stone of Destiny, also known as the Stone of Scone, forms an important part of the story of Scotland.
“Following due consideration the commissioners were satisfied that the proposals for Perth City Hall gave full and proper regard to the need to ensure the security and conservation of the stone, its accessibility to the general public and that it would be displayed in a manner in keeping with such an important cultural artefact
“The commissioners also concluded that there would be considerable merit in relocating the stone to assist with the ongoing regeneration of Perth.”