National Park examines plans to rebuild fire-hit Cameron House Hotel

Cameron House Hotel and the guests who died – Richard Dyson and Simon Midgley.

By Bill Heaney

Plans have been lodged to rebuild Loch Lomondside’s biggest and best hotel nearly a year after much of the interior was destroyed in a fatal fire.

Cameron House Hotel was devastated by the fire in December last year, which claimed the lives of two guests and gutted the inside of the 18th century building.

The owners of Cameron House Hotel in the Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park have since submitted a formal application to carry out restoration work on the building.

A planning application submitted to the national park’s planning department last month sets out in 95 documents the full extent of the works which are required at the
hotel, which sits on the Duck Bay estate, formerly owned by the Smollett family.

It includes the retention and restoration of the façade of the striking building and the construction of a new internal frame within it.

The plans also feature recladding, new dormer windows and roof terraces, and the demolition and rebuilding of walls.

The proposal states: “Partial down takings, reinstatement, extensions and alterations to fire damaged hotel and landscaping within the hotel grounds.”

It is almost a year since the blaze at the hotel which claimed the lives of Richard Dyson and Simon Midgley from London on 18 December.

More than 200 people were evacuated and three others were injured and taken to hospital.  The hotel has been closed since, and was only handed back to its owners in July.

It is believed the inferno was started by a Christmas tree in the foyer catching fire, however enquiries into the cause of the fire are still ongoing.

Dumbarton and Lomond MSP Jackie Baillie has been pressing for the authorities to complete their report on the cause of the fire and to publish their report.

The police and Fire Brigade, who were called to the spectacular blaze in large numbers have given evidence.

Major Patrick Telfer Smollett and his wife, Gina, on the steps of Cameron House and (right) film star Clint Eastwood being interviewed by journalist Bill Heaney.

Cameron House, which was purchased by American firm KSL Capital Partners in 2015, was rebuilt after a previous fire in 1865.  It was a family home down through the years for the Telfer Smollett family, the last of whom to occupy it were Major Patrick Telfer Smollett and his wife, Gina.

Since it opened as a hotel, Cameron House has been a holiday retreat for Pavarotti and Prince, Scandinavian royalty, Clint Eastwood and a galaxy of film stars, international golfers and footballers as well as a favourite leisure and swimming and golf complex for local people.

Two applications have been required – one for detailed planning permission and another for listed building consent.

Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park Authority’s planning department is now considering both applications, with a decision expected by 

A supporting statement lodged with the application, by Lichfields planning and heritage consultants, said: “Clearance and salvage works, including the installation of a façade retention scheme are underway on site at Cameron House.

“The applications for planning permission and listed building consent, which are the subject of this statement, seek permission to re-instate the historic building, which will ultimately help bring this world-class hotel back into use.

“Since the fire in December 2017, the project team has worked to establish the extent of work required to reinstate Cameron House and to bring the resort back into operation.

“Background studies have been completed to assess the damage to the building, from both a structural and heritage perspective, to inform the structural strategy and design proposals.”

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