A SIGNIFICANT investment is set to transform Crichton Hall in Dumfries into a five star destination hotel and spa.
Mr and Mrs J Clark, the owners of Fonab Castle Hotel (Pitlochry), are in the process of completing the purchase of the 12 acre site from NHS Dumfries and Galloway.
They propose to transform the magnificent building while protecting and preserving its many attractive features.
Their plans for the building are set to enhance the region’s economy, as they aim to generate over 250 employment opportunities while providing a platform to elevate tourism and business opportunities.
Crichton Hall on Glencaple Road opened in 1839 to become a world-renowned health facility, and most recently has been serving as the headquarters for the NHS Board, with office space for administrative functions.
The building extends to 184,000 sq ft in mature grounds of 12 acres, set within larger grounds of some 85 acres.
Work is expected to begin shortly on turning the building into a five star hotel and spa, with its new owners keen to ensure a strong connection with the local community.
A close association has already been established with the nearby Dumfries and Galloway College to provide tailored vocational training in the hospitality sector.
Meanwhile, an agreement in principal is already in place for Crichton Royal Bowling Club to continue to make use of the bowling green which sits within the grounds of Crichton Hall.
Statement from Mr and Mrs J Clark:
“When we visited Crichton Hall and reviewed the full scope of opportunity during the sale process, we could not help but be engrossed by the many benefits a destination hotel and spa would bring to the Dumfries and Galloway region.
“Whilst we totally recognised the challenges we would face delivering a destination hotel, we could equally identify how our knowledge, experience and approach to historic building restorations could create another five star hotel and spa equalling Fonab Castle Hotel’s breathtaking experience.
“Communities are at the heart of what we develop, and it was clear to see what our investment and strategy would do for the people of Dumfries and Galloway.
“At Fonab Castle Hotel we take our business very seriously and look forward with great excitement to working with the region during the pre and post stages of the development.
“Since we opened Fonab Castle Hotel in Pitlochry during the summer of 2013, we have seen year-on-year growth – the profits of which have been totally re-invested back into the business which have not only seen the hotel and spa benefit hugely from this but have also provided an additional £4.5 million of trade into Pitlochry town itself.”
Statement from NHS Dumfries and Galloway Chief Executive Jeff Ace:
“We are very pleased to see Crichton Hall move into the hands of people with such positive plans for its future. This building has served NHS Dumfries and Galloway extremely well over many years, but it is also a very important part of the region’s architectural and cultural heritage. When we first made plans to sell the building it was very important to us that this was recognised and respected, and that the site was properly cared for, with the hope that it could be developed to its fullest potential. I believe that Mr and Mrs Clark’s plans for Crichton Hall exceed those ambitions.
“Our staff will be sad to leave Crichton Hall. However, many will remain nearby at Mountainhall Treatment Centre as part of our well-advanced plans to relocate by the end of February. Crichton Hall is a very important site, and it will be great to witness it move into the next stage of its role as a real asset for the region.”