Lloyds takes over Scottish golf development

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The Independent Online
LLOYDS Bank is on the verge of joining the golf and leisure industry after taking possession of a 550-acre development at Milton of Leys, near Inverness, writes Paul Durman.

The bank is anxious to press ahead with the development, which includes planning permission for 1,200 luxury homes, believed to be one of the largest consents in the country. Lloyds and its advisers will today discuss the scheme at a meeting with planning officials from Highland Regional Council.

Gilmour Strang of Bidwells, the chartered surveyor appointed by Lloyds to review the project, said his first task was to sell 10 unsold houses (of 12 built), and a three-acre plot at nearby Culloden - close to the scene of the 1746 battle in which the Duke of Cumberland defeated Bonny Prince Charlie.

The developer, Samir Mattar of Sherborne in Dorset, had plans for a hotel, a spring water bottling plant and 18-hole and nine-hole golf courses.

Mattar Enterprises laid substantial road and sewer networks but seems to have run short of money after building the first 12 houses. The golf courses are unbuilt and little work has taken place in the past 18 months.

Mr Strang said Lloyds would be 'endeavouring to achieve the aims of the plan that's already in place', although it was too early to be specific.

The bank is thought to have lent about pounds 10m on the project.