The owners of a once-derelict South Lanarkshire castle transformed into a five-star hotel and events destination have announced a large-scale expansion project. 

Steve and Alison Timoney, who spent five years and more than £10 million restoring the listed Crossbasket Castle in High Blantyre, near Glasgow, have applied for planning permission that would see their investment in the award-winning property more than double.

The plans reveal a £15m investment in a new 40-bedroom hotel, restaurant and spa set within the castle’s extensive grounds, which if approved will bring up to 52 new jobs to the Blantyre area. If approved, it’s hoped construction work could start in early 2021, with the two-year build programme carefully planned to minimise disruption to guests and local residents.

Once complete, the hotel and venue will have capacity for an additional 35,000 visitors each year, providing a projected economic boost to the South Lanarkshire economy of £1.2m annually.

Alison Reid-Timoney said: “After purchasing what was a building in a state of total disrepair and on Scotland’s Buildings at Risk Register, it became a true passion project to carefully restore the castle and grounds to their resplendent glory. The expansion marks the next phase of this journey.

READ MORE: Historic Aberdeen hotel falls victim to lockdown

"We believe pushing forward with this large-scale investment at this highly uncertain time is not only essential to protect our existing business, but is the kind of thing that will encourage the industry to fight back and deliver the standard of facility that our customers are keen to see and will inevitably return to with their usual enthusiasm."

She added: “Although the Covid-19 pandemic has had dealt a significant blow to the economy, we are inspired by how people are fighting back to try to keep their businesses afloat. This takes great courage and self-belief and we hope our confidence in the recovery will help inspire that fight in our sector.”

The new facilities will include 40 new bedroom suites for guests, which have been in high demand, and four eco-friendly detached lodge houses to provide a variety of experiences.

A world class spa would house a glass-fronted café, swimming pool, gym and fitness studio. Completing the expansion is a new restaurant which aims to seat 132 covers, along with a bar, snug areas and a stage for live entertainment in the evenings.

Since opening in 2015, Crossbasket Castle – which is managed by Inverlochy Castle Management International (ICMI) – has attracted numerous accolades including Best Newcomer at the Condé Nast Johansens Annual Awards for Excellence and Castle Hotel of the Year at the Scottish Hotel Awards.

UK sees 'pockets of pandemic-induced inflation'

HeraldScotland:

UK inflation picked up by a little more than expected in October as the pandemic continued to affect the cost of goods, with clothing and food prices rising during the month.

Figures from the Office for National Statistics show that consumer prices rose 0.7 per cent in annual terms, after a 0.5% rise in September. That remains far below the Bank of England’s 2% target.

Unlike last year, food prices rose in October when people stocked up on potatoes and fruit. Previously published shopping surveys had pointed to renewed stockpiling as health restrictions spread through Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland in October. 

Paul Dales, an economist at consultancy Capital Economics, said there had been “pockets of pandemic-induced inflation”.

“But we suspect that the weak economy will prevent a sustained period where inflation is above the 2% target, unless there is a no-deal Brexit,” he added. In that case, Mr Dales said inflation could rise to 3% or 4%, pushed higher by a fall in the value of sterling.

READ MORE: Scottish retail misery intensified ahead of latest lockdown moves

Halfords driven by cycling boom

HeraldScotland:

Profits at Halfords more than doubled in first half of the year, boosted by the cycling boom that has been driven by the Covid pandemic.

Halfords’ revenue rose 9.6% to £638.9m in the six months to October 2, with a 54.4% jump in like-for-like sales of cycling products, By contrast, motoring product sales fell by 23.7%, reflecting less car journeys.

Its garage business, Autocentres, achieved total sales growth of 38.7%.

The group made an underlying pre-tax profit of £56m, up from £25.9m in the same period last year.

READ MORE: Cycling surge fails to overcome motoring downshift at Halfords

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