A DISUSED amusement park could be transformed into a luxury destination for holidaymakers after plans were unveiled for a £450 million development at the site.
Developers are seeking approval to build a leisure complex and up to 1,025 homes on grounds occupied by the Loudoun Castle theme park, Ayrshire.
The former funfair opened in the grounds of the 19th century country house in 1995, but closed in 2010. The site has lain derelict since.
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The Loudoun Castle Project, the group behind the plans, hopes to create as many as 2,500 jobs and provide a multi-million boost to the local economy.
Under the plans, the 610-acre former family funfair will be transformed into an all-weather resort featuring luxury lodges. There will also be a lake, indoor sports facilities and an indoor subtropical water park.
The site will also feature a Loudoun distillery.
It is also planned to stabilise the castle and conservation specialists will assess what can be done with the building.
If the plans are given local authority approval, work would begin in 2016, with the development opening its doors two years later.
It is anticipated about 1,000 of the new jobs would come from the construction process and would last for at least five years.
An additional 1,500 long-term jobs would also be created by the leisure and retail facilities.
Plans for the residential development will feature a mix of house styles, with starter homes, bungalows and three, four and five-bedroom properties.
David Mace, chairman of the Loudoun Castle Project, said: "A development of this size and scale will provide Scotland and Ayrshire with significant long-term economic benefits in jobs and tourism.
"The local community and Kilmarnock and Irvine Valley MSP Willie Coffey are delighted we have assembled such a strong team of professionals committed to turning this vision into reality.
"Scottish tourism has had a great year, given the international attention the country has received in 2014 through the Commonwealth Games, Ryder Cup and Homecoming Scotland. We are keen to maximise the legacy created, by adding a world-class all-weather leisure facility and a visitor attraction that will be a real stand-out.
"We will clearly attract visitors from home and abroad, which will make a positive impact on Ayrshire, making the whole of Scotland proud."
The group is hoping to tap into markets on both sides of the border, with research showing more than 4.9 million people are within a three-hour drive of Loudoun.
Nick Laister, senior director at RPS Planning & Development, which is submitting the planning application on behalf of the developers, said: "Since the site was allocated in the East Ayrshire Local Plan in 2010, it has been an aspiration of the council to secure the future of Loudoun Castle as a major tourism destination.
"Having been involved with the planning of the site since the middle of the last decade, I am delighted to be submitting a planning application for a development that is going to realise that vision and have such a significant positive economic impact on the area.
"This proposal will create a high quality resort in this dramatic location with the restoration of the Grade A listed castle at its heart.
"We have spent the last 18 months consulting the community and refining the plans and we look forward to working with East Ayrshire Council and others to make this hugely important development a reality."