Plans to save a crumbling Scottish castle have been approved after its owner agreed to protect endgangered newts found in the grounds.
The plans to restore Cavers Castle were initially held up in July of this year after great crested newts were discovered in the property’s pond.
The site had been bought in 2019 by Julie Sharrer, who was based in Hawaii at the time.
Ms Sharrer came over to organise groundwork on the site in 2020 before getting stuck in the UK during the coronavirus lockdown.
As work resumed on the property in the wake of Covid, another obstacle arose when the protected species of newt was found further delaying the decision of the council’s planning committee.
The committee has now voted to approve the project under a number of conditions including the construction of newt barrier fencing to ensure the species is correctly protected.
In 2020, Ms Sharrer told ITV Border she “knew” she had to restore the “majestic” castle and use what was left of the over 800-year-old site.
However, Ms Sharrer’s project has been met with apprehension from locals with the council report revealing that the plans generated more than 90 letters raising concerns.
The concerns include increased traffic, the impact on the environment, and water supply, as well as having a negative effect on nearby properties.
The report also states the project received 12 letters of support that included points such as benefiting the local economy.
The planning committee vote went in favour of the project by six votes to two.
The previous owners of the site died in 1949 and with no interested buyers much of the property was demolished in 1953.
The initial proposals would have seen the building turned into a hotel, however, revised plans will see it restored as a home.
The site is a Category B listed building which is currently a ruin and is identified on the Buildings at Risk Register.
The report concluded that the development would “not detract” from the special architectural and historic interest of the listed building.
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