The chief executive of the Mount Stuart Trust says the organisation is ‘hugely encouraged’ by public support for a major development project on the island.
A two-day exhibition of the proposals in the latest phase of the Mount Stuart Masterplan attracted around 70 island residents on August 4 and 5.
The three-year initiative is being funded by an investment by the Trust in excess of £8 million and is potentially one of the largest rural regeneration projects on a Scottish estate.
Trust chief executive Connie Lovel said: “We were delighted by the positive response to the project and the significant amount of constructive feedback we received.
“People highlighted the wider benefits the project brings to the island and there was a particularly keen interest in the sustainability aspect, especially in relation to the proposed use of biomass fuel.
“The Trust recognises that many of the buildings involved have been unoccupied for some time. However regeneration on this scale is a major undertaking and we believe we are implementing a Masterplan that will stand accommodation on the island - both rented and holiday let properties - in good stead for generations to come.
“The Masterplan is an ongoing initiative which will include other sites and buildings in future phases of development.”
Sites featured in the exhibition included the Georgian B-listed Woodend House on the west shore of Loch Fad, to be transformed into high quality self-catering holiday let accommodation for larger groups; the former Ambrismore farm, near Scalpsie Bay, where an existing stone byre will be converted to a four-bedroom family home and three new build homes will form a cluster of energy efficient dwellings for rent; and Quien, also near Scalpsie, where two existing buildings will be converted to provide self-catering holiday-let accommodation including one property which will be designed specifically to provide disabled-friendly accommodation with appropriate access and manoeuvrability within the house.
The Trust has also unveiled plans to carry out repairs and external improvements to the Mansion House in the centre of Rothesay, though no decision has yet been taken on the long-term future of the building.
Outline plans have also been drawn up to renovate the former farm buildings at Quochag and Lubas - the latter already partly converted - while a new build property is planned for Barmore, between Loch Fad and Loch Quien.
The project will run in conjunction with the estate’s Accelerated Refurbishment Programme to upgrade properties owned by the Trust; £600,000 was spent on the first phase of the programme, which was completed in 2012, and a similar sum is to be committed to the second phase.