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Ben Arthur Resort consultation launched

April 11 2012

Ben Arthur Resort consultation launched
Archial have revealed indicative plans for the transformation of a former torpedo base near Arrochar, subject of a report in the current issue of Urban Realm, into a £35m marine destination.

Located at the head of Loch Long in the Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park the Ben Arthur Resort would accommodate a 130 bed five star hotel, 52 homes, a chandlery (sailing shop), helipad and marina.

Kevin Cooper, Director in Archial's Glasgow office told Urban Realm said the scheme has progressed from being a “nice idea” to something that “we’re confident will happen” over the past nine months. This followed publication of a brochure to generate interest on behalf of the client as Cooper noted: “This is an example of what a lot of us in the profession are having to do, try and make something happen.”

Two house types will be implemented based on the characteristics of the site. The tower house at the eastern end of the site responding to the height differential between road and loch with shorter homes to be built in the west where topography is less extreme.

Cooper added: “It is still very much an early stage in the process. Our client has a hotel and marina operator on board, and the initial response from planning has been very positive.

“The project has great potential, a unique setting and a wonderful location. It offers a rare opportunity to develop a high quality resort, on a challenging and interesting site, creating a series of contemporary yet sensitively designed buildings, the forms of which are derived from the vernacular, yet modern in their expression."

The scheme has been well received by planners in their initial response but will now be subject to further refinement in consultation with stakeholders pending a full planning application.

A public consultation will be held at the Three Villages Hall, Arrochar, on Wed April 18 with a detailed planning application to follow by August.

Completion is anticipated by around 2015.
A cantilevered penthouse could offer spectacular panoramas of Loch Long, although the designs are still subject to further development
A cantilevered penthouse could offer spectacular panoramas of Loch Long, although the designs are still subject to further development
A new marina will be the ace in the sleeve of the project, acting as a honey pot for sailors
A new marina will be the ace in the sleeve of the project, acting as a honey pot for sailors

Custom built tower houses will boast their own front door jetty and back door parking
Custom built tower houses will boast their own front door jetty and back door parking
Homes will stagger in height from west to east
Homes will stagger in height from west to east


AD Crawford
#1 Posted by AD Crawford on 11 Apr 2012 at 14:34 PM
Arrochar is currently a total sh*thole with no reason to stop at all. With it's location and natural assets it it has always amazed me that nothing has been done whatsoever to exploit Arrochar's obvious potential - especially with a direct train link to Glasgow. This project is about bloody perhaps all the tourists enroute to Inverary may finally have reason to stop.

Architecturally one hopes that the high quality materiality and high levels of effort being expended to woo planners will be followed through to reality...although easy on the timber cladding - Arrochar is just about the wettest place on the British Isles!
Frank Lloyd Wrong
#2 Posted by Frank Lloyd Wrong on 11 Apr 2012 at 15:37 PM
I agree with AD, however it's a shame Archial have taken their usual design approach of chucking as many arbitrary design ideas into a big hairy sack and spewing them back out onto what could be a site of real significance.

Can't say I'm surprised.
DJ Johnston-Smith
#3 Posted by DJ Johnston-Smith on 11 Apr 2012 at 17:00 PM
I've not yet looked over the actual plans in detail so have not formed a view either way on the project. Having been raised in Arrochar and regularly returning to my parental home there I have a keen and vested interest in the locality. So, as you might imagine, I couldn't let AD Crawford's objectionable and fairly ignorant remark pass without comment.

Over the last 150 years or so the modern village of Arrochar developed and grew at the head of Loch Long principally as a tourist destination. Its now derelict pier and the nearby railway station once provided terminal points of access to the village and surrounding hills, bringing thousands of visitors each season. The rapid growth in car ownership and increased speed and efficiency of car travel since the 1970s effectively ended Arrochar's period as final destination for tourists (other than as a dormitory destination for bus tours). The current development up for debate is over half a mile from the village and as a self contained resort will hardly be encouraging many to stop in Arrochar 'en route to Inverary' as ADC seems to think. So I believe that notion can be dismissed.

Similarly his notion that the landscape and resources are there to be "exploited" is one which equally troubles me. There is no doubt that Arrochar, like so many former Scottish coastal Victorian tourist destinations, badly needs significant capital investment. However, we cannot and should not rubber-stamp developments simply because they benefit current and temporary economic difficulties, or (as in ADC's case) passing visitors' whims.
Andrew Taylor
#4 Posted by Andrew Taylor on 11 Apr 2012 at 17:21 PM
I really like the design of the main resort building, which I guess takes cues for its design from submarines and current naval architecture hence what seems to be door entrance overhangs which resemble a Vanguard submarines bow dive planes and dark colour of the building. Even hints of type 45 destroyer in the roof vents. Taking that into consideration I think they do take their sites history as a torpedo testing station as a key influence (although nothing like this is mentioned in the development brochure which instead uses 'traditional but contemporary' alot)
#5 Posted by Neil on 12 Apr 2012 at 09:27 AM
"A new marina will be the ace in the sleeve of the project, acting as a honey pot for sailors" Fantastic mixed metaphors, UR, thank you.
#6 Posted by Neil on 12 Apr 2012 at 09:28 AM
P.S. in all seriousness, are Archial still going? Thought they'd biffed it for good.
AD Crawford
#7 Posted by AD Crawford on 16 Apr 2012 at 16:22 PM
> DJ Johnston-Smith

Ignorant and objectionable as you may find it - especially being an Arrochar local, but it doesn't deflect from the fact that - language aside I am totally correct in my assessment of a town that should still be a destination in itself but as is so typical with Scotland - nobody seems to realise the economic realities of tourism and self sustaining local communities. The reason Arrochar is in such a state is plainly obvious: Dilapidation everywhere, No tourist facilities at all - very, very poor quality hospitality venues, no public space of any quality, almost no commercial activity worth stopping to patronise or otherwise support. In short no strategy to try and catch the 10s of millions of pounds of trade that drives through your town on an annual basis. It is, after all on the only road route to the southern highlands. So if you want the place to continue dying - just keep on doing what your doing...

If you don't like the semantics of words such as "exploit" can I soften it for you?

"maximise the potential of..."

The fact that the proposed development is not in the centre of the village is immaterial - development such as this is "sticky" and promotes and encourages other development and funding to the locale...and it might actually galvanise the locals to work together to rescue their village rather than just uselessly harking back to some supposed golden age.

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