Described as “a Riviera in the Highlands” when it opened in 1924, the luxury Gleneagles Hotel sells itself on fine dining, the chance to play on some of the best golf courses in Britain and the tranquillity of the rolling Scottish hills.
Yet that tranquillity is set to be shattered this summer. The hotel that hosted the Ryder Cup on its famous greens and fairways last year is on a collision course with a major music festival that plans to move nearby; there are fears that guests will be disrupted by loud music, unmanageable traffic and drunken revellers.
T in the Park, which has been held annually since 1994, brought in 85,000 people on each of the three days it was staged last July. This year it will be headlined by Pete Doherty’s indie rock band The Libertines.
But the event, managed by DF Concerts, was forced to move from the disused Balado airfield – its home for 18 years and about 12.5 miles from the hotel – after last year’s event. And it has chosen the Strathallan Castle estate near Auchterarder, which is only about two miles away from Gleneagles Hotel, as its new site.
In response, the hotel’s management raised a series of concerns in a letter sent to Perth and Kinross Council last week, calling for it to block the move unless the issues are addressed.
While not an official objection, the “comment” raised fears that the noise from the main stage, traffic management and public nuisance will all prove disruptive to the hotel, which added that it “cannot support the application as it currently stands”.
Meabhann Crowe, a senior planner at property agents Colliers International, wrote on behalf of Gleneagles saying that on a calm day the music had carried from the original site about 10 miles further away.
The hotel’s case warned of “satellite” camp sites springing up close to the hotel, without formal security or policing, meaning “issues of noise, nuisance, pollution and safety are a genuine concern for residents and businesses alike”. It added that the noise could also disturb the horses at the hotel’s equestrian centre.
Guests will not be able to enjoy their stay, the agent continued, “without being subject to antisocial behaviour as a direct result of unmanaged and uncontrolled pedestrian traffic”.
Perth and Kinross Council is consulting about the letter of concern, which has so far prompted 51 letters of support and 45 objections. A decision is expected in April.
A spokeswoman for T in the Park said the festival organisers were confident the hotel would not suffer any disruption, but added that “it would be highly unusual for any application to be rubber-stamped without [a full consultation]”.
Gleneagles’ management has been locked in talks with DF Concerts since last year.
Bernard Murphy, the managing director of the hotel, said the organisation had not objected to the event taking place but had raised “matters about which we would like to have greater clarity”.
Mr Murphy said: “We recognise the appetite for this event and how important it is for tourism but we also want to ensure the best possible experience for our guests.”
In a blow for the hotel, its letter was lodged the day the Scottish Environment Protection Agency withdrew its opposition to the move. It made the decision after organisers responded to concerns of flooding by saying that none of the camping areas would be in the flood plain.Reuse content