IT was the historic rural Dunbartonshire hotel which was devastated by a fire which claimed the lives of two of its guests.

Simon Midgley and Richard Dyson, from London both died when a blaze broke out at the category B listed Cameron House Hotel near Balloch, leading to the evacuation of more than 200 people just over two years ago.

Now the hotel owners have unveiled how a £17.5m extension will look after receiving planning approval by the Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park Authority in December. It is expected to be completed by summer 2021.

The owners of the luxury resort are getting set to reopen in late 2020 after a restoration and refurbishment - six months later than an earlier spring opening prediction.

HeraldScotland:

The addition to the hotel will feature a 7,345 sq ft ballroom with capacity for 350 guests and pre-function space with views of Loch Lomond.

It will also include an additional 68 bedrooms on the upper three floors, the majority of which will have large balconies with loch-facing views, taking the resort up to 208 bedrooms in total.

Andy Roger, resort director at Cameron House, said: “We warmly welcome the National Park Authority’s planning approval, which is a major step forward in the multi-million-pound redevelopment of the hotel.

“The proposed extension will maximise the stunning views of Loch Lomond whilst fully respecting the architectural integrity of the original house. 

“The extension will also allow us to increase the number of weddings, functions and guests we’re able to accommodate at Cameron House, and we’re confident these improvements will have a significant positive impact on the local economy.”

Video: A CGI walkthrough of the ballroom

A “sensitive” renovation is being undertaken to revamp the hotel, involving retaining the B-listed facade and rebuilding the entire internal frame, which is said to be too badly damaged to be restored.

It is understood the historical interiors will be replaced entirely by a new structure and the plans feature recladding, new dormer windows and roof terraces, and the demolition and rebuilding of walls.

Meanwhile there are continuing questions over whether there will be legal proceedings in connection with the fire.
Police Scotland have confirmed death reports and an investigative report have been submitted to the Crown Office.

A prosecution report, which would be submitted if any offences were suspected has not gone to the Crown Office.

Once all final reports are submitted, the Crown Office are due to determine the cause of death and decide whether or not there should be prosecution proceedings or a fatal accident inquiry.

A Police Scotland spokesman said: "An interim report on the police investigation has been submitted to the Crown Office, who we are working closely with. We await further instruction." 

HeraldScotland:

A Crown Office spokesman said: “The Crown‎ is committed to ensuring that the facts and circumstances surrounding the deaths of Simon Midgley and Richard Dyson are thoroughly investigated by the relevant agencies, fully considered by COPFS and, in due course, aired in an appropriate legal forum.

"The nearest relatives will continue to be kept updated in relation to any significant developments.”

Dumbarton MSP Jackie Baillie was among those leading calls for answers in December on the second anniversary of the blaze.

She was in contact with mum Jane Midgley, who lost her son Simon in the fire, and said the delay in answers has added to her distress.

The Crown Office spokesman added: "COPFS appreciates the impact the time taken to conclude deaths investigation can have on those involved and we are committed to resolving them as soon as we can.

HeraldScotland: The Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS) confirmed it received a report from the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) concerning the outbreak of the fire that devastated the luxury hotel.

"We understand that this is a very distressing time for the family and friends of Simon Midgley and Richard Dyson and have regular contact with the nearest relatives in accordance with their wishes.

"Significant investigative work is being done and once this is complete a decision on appropriate action will be made by independent Crown Counsel, acting in the public interest."

Cameron House Resort (Loch Lomond) Ltd revealed in its accounts in April that they hoped to fully reopen in April, 2020. But its latest financial statement published in October said that the hotel complex, including The Leisure Club, The Great Scots Bar and Cameron Grill is now expected to be open in October, 2020.

It said that due to "adverse weather conditions and instability" in the damage portion of the building, regulatory investigators were subsequently delayed in gaining access which was not handed back to the resort's owner until July 13, 2018, over seven months after the fire.

Since the fire, resort facilities including the golf club, the Boat House restaurant, and the spa and leisure facilities at The Carrick have remained open.

The resort made an after tax profit of £442,000 in 2018 - a big drop from the £2,176,000 made in the previous year.