PLANS to create an outdoor tank track around Duntarvie Castle in Winchburgh have been given the thumbs up despite local opposition to the scheme.
The surprise move is just the latest in a line of approved planning applications dating back 20 years when the ruin was first bought by kiltmaker Geoffrey Nicholsby.
The latest development came as a surprise to locals who thought the restoration plans had been buried after council officers recommended refusal.
Ron Jamieson of Newton Community Council called Geoffrey Nicholsby “an absolute cowboy” saying: “I am very surprised that this has gone through as will be a lot of other people.
‘‘In 1992 there was a great debate about whether Duntarvie should be developed or remain a romantic ruin. We preferred the idea of a romantic ruin.
“We are not happy about this. This is not the kind of sport to put round a great A-list building and Historic Scotland were against using the building like this also.”
Miniature tanks would be driven around the adventure track, which would be open seven days a week, with camouflaged structures set up. A pond would also be dug towards the eastern boundary of the site.
In July 1992, permission was granted to restore the castle as a hotel, and build a house in the grounds.
In April 2001, reconstruction and extension to the east tower was allowed, and in June 2008, Nicholsby was granted permission to change the ruin into an HQ for his kiltmaking business, with an office, shop and cafe onsite.
This application lapsed in July 2011, and five other applications were also granted over the years for temporary accommodation to the south of the castle.
But plans for an adventure tank course, that would fund Duntarvie’s restoration, are the latest to be given the green light, with the applicant given six years by the council to make his plans a reality.
Duntarvie Castle has been uninhabited since the mid-19th century and surrounded by scaffolding since the 1990s. But the developer has estimated full restoration will take three years.
Despite attempts, the Journal and Gazette was unable to contact Geoffrey Nicholsby.