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New future for Glenmorag Hotel

Iconic building and grounds bought for Dunoon Project hub

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By Gordon Neish
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New future for Glenmorag Hotel

THE GLENMORAG Hotel, along with its extensive grounds, has been purchased to be a hub for the Dunoon Project.

And Cowal could begin to see the benefit later this year if plans to build a public cycle track and other amenities in the grounds come to fruition.

The hotel, overlooking Dunoon’s West Bay, was for many years a major feature of social life in the town.

Big-name cabaret evenings and dancing in the impressive ‘Pride of the Clyde’ ballroom were common. However with the local tourism decline the hotel was obliged to look to the coach party market which in turn was badly impacted by the lockdowns – leading to closure last year.

The Dunoon Project Ltd’s project director Keith Holdt also revealed this week that the community company is looking to add Morag’s Fairy Glen and Bishop’s Glen to its portfolio, bringing the iconic spots into community ownership.

Keith is a business consultant who has worked extensively with investment companies throughout the UK – and is now resident in Cowal.

He said: “I’m massively excited about this development. To me, it’s an absolute game-changer. It has the potential to act as a catalyst for the whole project – after years of talking there will be something tangible.

“While we are waiting for due process with the community buyout some of us have seen and grasped the opportunity to take this project forward for the community.”

The big vision of the Dunoon Project is to have a significant eco-themed visitor attraction on top of Kilbride Hill, with a cable car connection to sea level. It will now be possible for the base station to be in the grounds of the former hotel.

Keith says options for the Glenmorag site include a visitor and education centre, and discussions with Dunoon Grammar School to gather young people’s ideas have been taking place for some time.

We understand the selling agents for the GlenMorag Hotel had made plans to split the main building into apartments and divide the grounds into smaller development lots to maximise revenue.

However, as of this week (August 6) a formal offer, understood to be around £1.5M, for the building and the grounds in their entirety has been accepted, with just the Is to dot and the Ts to cross.

Keith says the sellers have been very supportive of both the offer and the project. The offer has been made by a consortium of investors close to and aligned with the Dunoon Project.

Keith also spoke of the project’s eco ambitions, with plans to develop a hydro-electric scheme at the Bishop’s Glen reservoir to power the project.

This led one investor do describe the project as ‘Eden without the roof’.

Under Keith’s expert guidance the project will be funded by a mixture of private and public finance, and run to benefit the community of Dunoon.

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