Planning consent has been granted for a hotel and leisure development in the heart of Scotland. One of the leaders of a consortium of British businessmen behind the development of almost 500 acres, 30 miles from the Scottish capital, has told CN that the project proposals include plans for a 40,000 sq.ft. convention centre.
The development, near to Biggar in South Lanarkshire, will include a 240-bedroom luxury resort hotel along with a championship golf course, designed in conjunction with golfing legend Sandy Lyle.
Planners have also given the green light for a phased development of 250 chalet style villas on the site, which will feature lakes and forestry, an equestrian centre, and other popular outdoor leisure facilities.
“Conference and leisure facilities lie at the heart of the hotel development with over 40,000 sq. ft. being allocated for a state of the art convention centre alone. Nothing like this exists in a hotel in Scotland at the moment,” Group Managing Director Alan O’Connor told CN.
Alexandra Hayward of Debutesq Group, which is handling international sales, said: “Scotland is crying out for a resort hotel with conference and leisure facilities on a grand scale and this development will help the country compete better internationally”.
Scotland is a favourite with international conference organisers and convention space has often been at a premium, especially for global corporates looking to accommodate 200 or more delegates under one roof.
The owners of the development consortium say they have not ruled out selling the development, but are at this stage interested in engaging with international hotel operators and resort developers.
“The forthcoming referendum for Scottish independence is unlikely to make the country any less attractive regardless the outcome,” said a source.
Meanwhile, a number of new routes through Edinburgh Airport including the Middle East helped drive passenger traffic to almost one million in June.
Glasgow’s SECC, meanwhile, has confirmed 27 conferences and congresses this quarter, amounting to just under 137,000 delegate days.
The events are projected to attract over 34,700 delegates to the venue and will take place between now and 2022.
On the corporate side of the business, the SECC confirmed nine events, including the implementation of company conferences for Heineken and Clydesdale Bank. UK Associations accounted for 11 events, with the Federation of Infectious Societies Annual Conference in 2015, and the Diabetes UK Annual Professional Conference in 2016 all prominent.
The venue also continued a run of successful bids for international congresses including the World Congress on Soil Science, which will welcome 3,000 delegates for six days; the European Society of Sports Traumatology Knee Surgery and Arthroscopy (ESSKA), a 3,000-delegate, four-day event, and the World Congress of Basic and Clinic Pharmacology in 2022, which will attract 4,000 delegates over five days.
“It’s been an incredibly positive start to the year for the SECC and I’m delighted to see the venue delivering across all the major sectors of conference business, from corporate to international association,” said Kathleen Warden, Director of Conference Sales at the SECC.
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