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£300m golf plan for theme park

AN abandoned theme park could become a world-class golf centre if a £300 million plan gets the green light.

The plan for the former Loudoun Castle site in East Ayrshire includes a championship standard golf course, club house, golf academy, whisky distillery and a food and drink centre of excellence.

The proposal by Ayrshire-based investment firm Vicon UK and investor FML will result in the 19th-century Loudoun Castle being revamped as a five-star hotel, while new homes and retail outlets will also feature.

Vicon has submitted a notice of intention to lodge a detailed planning application for the golf course and academy with East Ayrshire Council.

An in-principle application for the mixed-use development on the 600-acre site has also been submitted.

Neil Rattray, chief executive of Vicon UK, said: "There has been a great deal of interest in the future of this site.

"We have been working tremendously hard over a period of many months to ensure we attracted the right investor and have put together a realistic proposal that will deliver significant economic benefit to East Ayrshire."

If the application is successful, Vicon claims the project will create hundreds of construction jobs over a five to seven-year period and the local community will benefit greatly from the investment.

The firm has pledged to employ local firms and contractors for the project wherever possible.

Kilmarnock-based Thomson Architects has already been appointed to create the blueprint for the proposed development.

Loudoun Castle theme park, near Galston, closed its doors at the end of the summer season in 2010, with the loss of 11 permanent and 160 seasonal jobs.

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