Locals granted a stake in future of Dracula's castle
COMMUNITY groups and members of the public are to be given a voice in determining the future of historic Slains Castle, the imposing Buchan keep said to have been a source of inspiration for Bram Stoker’s horror classic, Dracula.
Members of Aberdeenshire Council’s Banff and Buchan area committee are due to make a final decision on 9 November on controversial plans to turn the spectacular ruin into holiday apartments.
But councillors have now decided to give the public the chance to voice its opinion on the development at a special meeting in the nearby village of Cruden Bay, to be held six days before the crucial vote.
A spokeswoman for Aberdeenshire Council said yesterday: "Members of the public are being invited to have their say on the proposed restoration and redevelopment of Slains Castle at Cruden Bay. Those who attend the hearing will have the opportunity to put their points across regarding the planning application to restore and redevelop the ruinous castle to form holiday apartments."
The spokeswoman added that "due to the high level of interest" anyone intending to speak should notify the Buchan area office in advance.
Perched on the dramatic cliffs near the infamous Bullers of Buchan, Slains Castle was home to the Earls of Erroll for more than four centuries. A castle was first built on the site in 1598 by the ninth Earl of Erroll. Death duties forced the 20th earl to sell Slains in 1916, after which the castle was allowed to fall into disrepair. It has lain derelict since the 1920s.
Stoker is reputed to have written at least part of his gothic horror classic in 1895 while staying at Crookit Lum Cottage, near Cruden Bay, the home he used as a summer retreat. And there is little dispute that Slains Castle provided the inspiration for Count Dracula’s Transylvanian fortress.
The ruined keep is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the North-east. But an Inverurie-based development company, the Slains Partnership, sparked a storm of protest earlier this year when it lodged plans to restore the ruins and turn them into 35 holiday apartments.
The Slains Partnership claims the tourism development will restore the "iconic" cliff-top castle and bring cultural and tourism-related benefits, both regionally and nationally, as well as securing the future of Slains Castle.
Angry locals, however, claim the development will "drive a stake" through its heart.
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