June 16, 2015
Next up – the Nissans
In 2007, the Comrie community launched a successful bid under the right to buy legislation to purchase the former MOD training camp at Cultybraggon. During WW2 it served as a PoW camp for high profile Nazis, including Rudolph Hess and later a nuclear bunker was installed. A complex business plan has been developed to maximise the return from this unique community asset, selling off some of the assets and developing others. Now a major new project has been signalled to convert ten of B-listed Nissan huts.
Visitors to Highland Perthshire could soon be able to stay in the country’s most unusual tourist accommodation – a former Second World War high- security prisoner of war (PoW) camp.
In a near £600,000 project, the Comrie Development Trust (CDT) hopes to convert and refurbish 10 B-listed Nissen huts at Cultybraggan camp to create self-catering and bunkhouse accommodation.
The best-preserved PoW camp in Scotland, the move is seen as retaining a significant piece of heritage while boosting the local economy.
The 1941 camp is the last remaining example of a purpose-built camp in the UK and visitors would be following in the footsteps of notorious inmates.
The camp housed some diehard Nazis – including briefly Rudolf Hess – and became infamous when the Germans hanged one of their own number for not being fanatical enough in his support for the Third Reich.
Dramatic re-enactments of that era have proved popular in the village, with ‘PoWs’ marched through Comrie up to the camp.
CDT chairwoman Emma Margrett said: “This is a really promising project and has only been possible due to the foresight of the community when they bought the camp.
“The buildings will be restored to a condition as stipulated by Historic Scotland, which has given its backing to the project, offering a grant of up to £257,500.
“Historic Scotland’s grant offer is conditional upon proposals being approved and match funding being obtained.
“The total building work for the heritage self-catering project is estimated at £578,500 and a funding package has been put together with funds sought from Historic Scotland, Scottish and Southern Energy and the Heritage Enterprise fund.”
As part of the funding individuals are being invited to invest in community shares which will hopefully raise £35,000.
It has been estimated that “heritage hutting”, taken together with the other projects, could potentially increase visitor levels to more than 15,000 after five years, creating the equivalent of 20 full-time jobs and boosting the local economy by up to £2 million.
Dr Ann Petrie, chairwoman of Comrie Heritage Group, added: “This project is just one of a number of projects that CDT is working on to further progress Cultybraggan and by investing in community shares, individuals will be helping to preserve part of the nation’s heritage and will contribute towards benefitting the community.
“Any surplus generated by the business will be invested in restoring the rest of Cultybraggan camp and in helping community projects in Comrie.”