OAP wins Scotland's '˜Dracula Castle' battle but vows to fight on

A Scottish pensioner has won his ten-year battle to have Scotland's internationally-renown Bram Stoker's '˜Dracula Castle', saved for the nation.

Joe Allan, 83, has campaigned to have the imposing cliff-top Slains Castle at Cruden Bay on the Aberdeenshire coast, given listed status by Historic Environment Scotland (HES), after first seeing it as a boy and being “mesmerised” by its presence.

Stoker wrote part of the 1897 Gothic horror story while staying in nearby Crooked Lum Cottage, his favourite holiday destination for 20 years.

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Today HES announced the castle, which was the subject of a lengthy consultation exercise, is to be awarded B-listed status.

Slains Castle which has inspired writers for centuries has won B-listed status.

In January The Scotsman exclusively revealed Slains Castle was to be B-listed.

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Dr Samuel Johnson and James Boswell stayed in the castle on their tour of Scotland, with Boswell.

Mr Allan, from East Kilbride, South Lanarkshire, who last year lobbied First Minister Nicola Sturgeon for support, said he intends to fight on to persuade HES to buy the property so it can join Scotland’s “magnificent chain” of castles along its east coast.

Slains Castle which has inspired writers for centuries has won B-listed status.

“I think it’s absolutely marvellous, a battle won. But I’m going to fight on to save Slains and will be turning my attention to getting Historic Environment Scotland to buy it. “

Mr Allan, who does not have a computer, waged a letter-writing campaign. He also visited his local library where staff did Google searches for him.

The castle has been at the centre of controversy after developers, Slains Partnership, were given planning permission in 2007 by Aberdeenshire Council to turn the 16th century castle into luxury flats. Permission was extended until 2017 but expired meaning any future applications need to be examined by HES and Aberdeenshire Council.

Elizabeth McCrone, head of designations at HES, said: “New Slains Castle is a fantastic addition to Scotland’s diverse range of listed buildings. This impressive ruin has four centuries of history to tell us about and it is remarkable, not only for its architecture, but also for its literary associations.

“Listing will help to ensure its interest is recognised for future generations.”