Prince Charles has been given the green light to build a luxury wedding venue in the grounds of his Scottish stately home.
The state-of-the-art facility is to be built at Dumfries House near Cumnock in Ayrshire to provide high-end wedding packages.
Weddings are currently held in the Tapestry Room of the historic house, with receptions taking place in a marquee erected next to the main house.
However the current marquee is thought to detract from the character of the A-listed building, which the heir to the throne helped save for the nation, and the new venue will be built in surrounding woodland.
It will cater for up to 200 guests and a new walled garden is to be built next to it. The project will create up to 20 new jobs with the profits being reinvested into charitable activities at the Dumfries House estate.
Plans were submitted to East Ayrshire Council in April and were approved last week after no objections were received.
In a report, planners said: “This proposal clearly has a high potential to deliver the economic benefit originally envisaged by the applicant for both the Dumfries House and the wider community through its potential to increase tourism, secure existing jobs and provide new jobs.
“On balance, it is considered that the significant economic benefit that could be delivered by this proposal, coupled with the precedent of built development within the estate, is sufficient to allow this proposal to be looked upon favourably.”
The Prince of Wales helped arrange a £45 million deal to buy Dumfries House and its collection of Chippendale furniture.
He led a consortium of charities and the Scottish Government to make the purchase in 2007, with his own charitable foundation contributing £20 million.
A design statement submitted by The Prince’s Foundation to the local authority said: “Event hosting is vitally important to the survival of all that goes on within Dumfries House Estate and farther afield.
“Income generated by wedding and corporate event hosting is essential to the day to day running of the Estate and the wide range of educational programmes that run throughout the year.
“The primary function of the new pavilion is to provide a venue for weddings, unique in character and of the highest quality.
“The reception and banqueting spaces will accommodate up to 200 guests, with state of the art facilities to the rear providing service and support.
“As part of the wedding venue, the external space created around the pavilion is very important. The garden is an extension of the interior and provides a private area for guests to spill out onto. As viewed from inside, the gardens provide an ornamental outlook, with the backdrop of the mature woodland beyond.”
Prince Charles is also bidding to create a haven for red squirrels in the grounds of the estate.
It will also be turned into a visitor attraction with raised walkways built around the squirrels’ habitat for the public to view them.
The prince is patron of the Red Squirrel Survival Trust and has previously spoken of his love of the wild animals and is keen to save them from threats to their survival.
The 18th century property, designed by the Adam brothers, was put up for sale by its former owner, the aristocrat and former F1 racing driver Johnny Dumfries.
It opened to the public in the summer of 2008 following intensive restoration work.
Prince Charles recently merged four of his charities focusing on culture, heritage, built environment and community education into one foundation based at Dumfries House.