Fasque House estate project would help Fettercairn village to flourish

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AN economic impact study by a leading professor into a proposed development at a historic Aberdeenshire estate predicts the project would bring more than £1million per year to a North-east village.

Plans to build 115 new homes along with supporting commercial enterprises at Fasque House in Fettercairn have been submitted for approval with Aberdeenshire Council.

John Lennon, professor and director of the Moffat Centre for Travel and Tourism Business Development at Glasgow Caledonian University, believes the initiative would benefit the surrounding area.

Douglas Dick-Reid, Fasque House Properties managing director, is the driving force behind the enabling development after purchasing the Georgian Mansion and surrounding site last July.

The plans, which could create up to 275 jobs, include a mix of sympathetic new build houses in keeping with the landscape, steading and stable block conversions to create holiday lets as well as an equestrian centre, farm shop and museum.

The revenue generated from the project would then be ploughed back into the A-listed Fasque House, formerly owned by the family of Victorian Prime Minister William Gladstone, and the surrounding buildings that are deemed at risk.

“The proposed development of Fasque Estate by Fasque House Properties Ltd would develop positive economic impacts for the area,” said Professor Lennon.

“The completed development would have an annual direct economic trading impact worth £810,000 and a further indirect impact which would bring the overall total to £1.13million to the local, regional and national economy.

“In terms of actual job figures the full development would generate a minimum of 38 positions on site and a further 47 full time roles within the wider community.

“During the construction phase up to 190 full time jobs could be created so the whole project would generate employment in quality mixed use residential, leisure and tourism development initiatives.”

Professor Lennon remains hopeful the project will be given the green light particularly as it meets specific criteria set out by relevant government bodies.

He added: “Rural regeneration remains an elusive goal in many parts of Scotland where economic success is driven from urban centres.

“This is the case in Aberdeenshire and that is why such a development should be encouraged and promoted.

“The Fasque House Estate project would also create a quality North-east tourist hotspot which could help government targets to increase tourism numbers by 2015.”

The project is expected to take between seven to 10 years until it is fully completed.

The three-storey property was built around 1809 and sold in 1829 to John Gladstone, the grandfather of Sir William Gladstone, who was Prime Minister four times during the reign of Queen Victoria and a regular visitor to Fasque.

Mr Dick-Reid hopes to find out within the next few months if his development plans have been successful.