Plans for 550-pitch caravan park near Lauder’s Thirlestane Castle dropped

Thirlestane Castle at Lauder.
Thirlestane Castle at Lauder.

A controversial bid to create a giant caravan park close to a Borders castle has been ditched.

Lauderdale Estates revealed plans late in 2017 to turn 50 hectares of agricultural land at Thirlestane Castle at Lauder into a holiday park.

That bid was initially for around 500 static caravans, lodges and eco-cabins, as well as offering stances for more than 50 touring caravans.

A shop, cafe and caravan sales centre were also proposed.

That would have made it the biggest holiday park in the Borders, a title now being sought by a 180-lodge site planned by Sandy Lane Resorts at Rutherford Castle at West Linton.

Lauderdale Estates’ application met with immediate opposition from residents of Lauder, with one local labelling the proposed development an “absolute eyesore”.

Opponents of the plans feared Lauder’s limited infrastructure would not be able to cope with the influx of hundreds of people the holiday park would have generated.

Now, however, after undertaking a public consultation process over its plans, landowner Edward Maitland-Carew has decided to withdraw his application.

No specific reason has been given for that decision.

However, Mr Maitland-Carew, owner of 16th century Thirlestane Castle, said it had “not been taken lightly”.

In a statement, a spokesperson for the company said: “Lauderdale Estates has announced its intention to discontinue attempts to secure planning consent for a holiday home park immediately to the north of Lauder, off the A68.

“The proposed caravan park on land on the north side of the town for which the proposal for application notice had been submitted and initial consultation carried out was for 250 holiday homes to be built in phases, plus some community facilities.”

Mr Maitland-Carew added: “Bringing tourism into Lauder and the region is so important to our local economy, so this decision has not been taken lightly.

“I would like to thank all those that gave their time to offer constructive feedback.”

A public consultation over the plans was staged last June at Lauder Public Hall.

Speaking soon after the application was submitted, Stephen Potts, who lives near the proposed development site, said: “In my view, a development of the scale proposed is significantly disproportionate to the current size of the town and imposes substantial foreseeable impacts.”