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Development news – hotels seeking new uses and a major scheme in Wantage

A trio of hotels in Scotland which once catered for a significant number of coach tour guests are now up for sale and seeking potentially new uses.

The development opportunities for the three established Scottish hotels could include residential, leisure or healthcare. 

The hotels are being marketed by international agents and leisure specialists Colliers International in collaboration with Scottish specialist Graham + Sibbald.


The buildings - the Glenmorag Hotel in Dunoon, the Garve Hotel in Garve and Mackay’s Hotel in Strathpeffer - together make up Hart Hotels, which is owned by the David Urquhart Group.

Robert Smithson, part of the specialist hotels team at Colliers International, said: “All three hotels are well-located and offers are being invited for the portfolio or for the hotels individually.”

He added: “However, in addition to attracting interest from hospitality operators they have also been the focus of attention from developers who can see their potential for other purposes such as healthcare, residential, leisure and automotive.”

Alistair Letham, consultant at Graham + Sibbald, said that both Glenmorag and Garve hotels, in particular, had development land that added to their ability to be converted to alternative uses.

“The Garve Hotel is a brownfield site, extending to around six acres in a prominent position on the renowned North Coast 500,” he explained. “For that reason, in addition to its current hotel use, there are a variety of potential options for alternative uses. These include holiday accommodation, a petrol filling station and potentially a drive-through - or even a combination of the three.”

The Glenmorag Hotel, meanwhile, is set in a ‘spectacular’ 12-acre site overlooking the Firth of Clyde, and located within the Settlement Zone for the Bute and Cowal Area of the Argyll & Bute Local Development Plan.

“In particular, the three acres of land to the front of the hotel is specifically identified for housing. This is available subject to separate negotiation,” Letham said.

“The rear of the site was apparently previously zoned for housing and it is considered that the land to the rear could be developed for housing or for holiday lodge accommodation. With the prospect of the Dunoon Project bringing a cable car and investment into the area to drive tourism and the local economy, the site represents a fantastic opportunity.”

In total, the three Hart Hotels have 177 letting bedrooms or apartments, with each hotel also home to a range of dining, banqueting and bar facilities. All of the hotels have ceased trading.

The Glenmorag Hotel – created from an original Victorian mansion house – has 71 beds. It’s a significant property situated in an elevated location overlooking its own private gardens and the Firth of Clyde. It previously operated as a traditional resort and holiday hotel located on the southern edges of the town of Dunoon, within one hour’s drive from Glasgow city centre.

The property includes around 12 acres of land, making the site ideal for a number of development options including residential (subject to planning permission).

Mackay’s Hotel, developed from two adjacent villas to create a now sizeable and 'easily managed' tourist business incorporating a leisure club with swimming pool, has 54 beds.

It’s described as being centrally located in the ‘attractive Highland village of Strathpeffer’, which is an ideal base from which to explore locations in northern Scotland such as John O’Groats, the dramatic hills and coastlines of Wester-Ross and Torridon, the Isle of Skye and Loch Ness.

Lastly, the Garve Hotel has 46 beds and is also set amongst dramatic Highland scenery. It’s ‘superbly located’ as a base for exploring northern and north-west Scotland.

The hotel and its five-acre surroundings is well-positioned on the iconic North Coast 500 (NC500) route, alongside the Blackwater River, and is ideal for development for a number of uses such as residential, leisure, automotive or a mixed scheme (subject to usual planning consents).

St. Modwen and Crabhill Developments sell latest phase in Wantage for £17m

In other development news, St. Modwen and Crabhill Developments have marked another milestone in the development of the new 1,500-home community at Kingsgrove, Wantage, with the completed sale of a 10-acre residential parcel of land to Taylor Wimpey for £17 million.

This now enables the start of phase four of the delivery of new homes in the 227-acre scheme, where St. Modwen is acting as master developer, working closely with landowner Crabhill Developments and its advisers, Carter Jonas.

Taylor Wimpey – one of the UK’s biggest housebuilders, but one which hasn’t been free from major controversy in recent years – first exchanged on the acquisition in July following a ‘competitive marketing process’, and has now completed on the £17 million purchase to deliver 171 homes, 36% of which are earmarked as affordable.

Located on the ‘Downland’ Phase, the land is close to the new Local Centre that encompasses the newly opened primary school, and the soon-to-be delivered community hub and public square.

The sale marks the next residential phase of the growing community at Kingsgrove, with the first three phases, totalling 428 homes, being developed by St. Modwen Homes, as well as housebuilders CALA and Bellway.

This makes Taylor Wimpey the fourth housebuilder on site and brings the total number of homes under delivery to date to 578.

St. Modwen Homes has already completed and sold all of its initial 70 homes in its initial first phase, bringing total occupations to over 100 homes at the end of October.

William Bayston, senior development manager at St. Modwen, said: “With another housebuilder invested into Kingsgrove, we are now over a third of way through the master development of this attractive Oxfordshire community. We are looking forward to working closely with Taylor Wimpey as we progress the delivery of the wider Kinsgrove community, which is already well-advanced with the opening of the new school and delivery of the first phases of homes.”

Gary Needham, land director for Taylor Wimpey, added: “We are delighted to be involved in the new Kingsgrove development and delivering the next phase of new homes. This high-quality, landscape-led scheme presented an excellent opportunity to work with St. Modwen, and it is clear that our aspirations for design and placemaking are well-aligned. We’re very pleased to add this phase of Kingsgrove to our growing portfolio and look forward to beginning work on-site.”

James Bainbridge, chairman at property firm Carter Jonas, said of the sale: “This next residential parcel sold by the landowners at Kingsgrove will significantly increase the rate of delivery of much-needed new homes for the region. We are very pleased with the progress and continuing investment into this significant project to deliver our clients’ vision to create a community that everyone can be proud of. We look forward to working on further residential parcels at Kingsgrove as well as looking forward to more exciting news about the community facilities.”

In July 2015, Carter Jonas obtained outline planning permission for the 227-acre site from the Vale of White Horse District Council for up to 1,500 homes, a new primary school, a neighbourhood centre including a pub/restaurant and local retail accommodation, sports pitches, employment space and community amenities set around a central park.


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