Former Nazi POW camp to be turned into four star holiday park
A former Nazi prisoner of war camp which housed SS fanatics is set to be turned into four star tourist accommodation.
Cultybraggan Camp in Comrie, Perthshire, has secured funding to transform the site into self catering accommodation.
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Known as Camp 21, it was a high security POW camp used to hold those most committed to the Nazi cause, including Hitler's deputy Rudolf Hess, who is said to have briefly stayed there after parachuting into the country.
The area also hit the headlines recently after one of the camp's former inmates, Heinrich Steinmeyer, left nearly £400,000 to the village in his will to thank locals for their "kindness".
But the Comrie Development Trust (CDT), which is leading the development of Cultybraggan, has said none of his money will go towards the renovations.
Instead, his legacy will go towards developments to benefit older people in Comrie and its surrounding area, as he stated in his will.
Money for the camp project has come from Historic Environment Scotland, which has pledged around £100,000 - which will pay for 40 per cent of the repair work necessary to overhaul, repair and preserve the 11 Nissen Huts on the site.
SSE has also awarded £36,350 from its Sustainable Development Fund, which will go towards the cost of connecting the huts to the camp's existing Biomass boiler heating system.
It will also help provide main electricity to the huts.
And the Heritage Lottery Fund has pledged £638,900, allowing work to start next year.
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Comrie Development Trust bought the 40-acre camp and nearby 50-acre hill ground in 2007 as part of community right to buy legislation.
The Nissen huts on the site were built in 1941 and designed to last 15 years, but are now 75 years old.
They have been maintained by the army in the years since, but the Trust says they now need investment and to be given a use if they are to be preserved long-term.
Cultybraggan Camp is already home to a range of community activities, including allotments, youth activities, a community orchard, heritage and education services and event facilities.
And the Trust aims for their new self-catering accommodation to bring more visitors to Comrie, including school groups on educational tours.
It also hopes to retain the history of the area while boosting the local economy.
Guests will stay in the same huts the notorious inmates of the camp lived in.
There will be six four-bed units, and two-and-a-half two-bed units, with other units used for storage and as a common room.
Each accommodation unit will have an ensuite bathroom and toilet.
Andrew Reid, CDT Board Secretary, said: "Comrie Development Trust is grateful to its funders for providing the opportunity to deliver a great new resource at the community owned Cultybraggan Camp, and for the Strathearn area."
As a maximum security POW camp, Cultybraggan housed 4,000 Nazi prisoners from 1944 until 1948 when they were relased.
There were several escape attempts by the prisoners, and in one infamous incident, Sergeant Wolfgang Rostberg was murdered by his fellow Nazis for not seemingly being fanatical enough about the cause.
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It is one of the last sites of its type in the UK and Europe.
Thomas Knowles, Head of Grants at Historic Environment Scotland, said: "Cultybraggan has a fascinating, colourful, and sometimes dark history - operating as it did as one of the two maximum security POW camps in World War II .
"Since that time, large parts of the site have remained relatively unchanged, and are now considered as being of international significance.
"When the Comrie Development Trust approached us with their proposals, we were happy to confirm our support for the project, in recognition of the appropriate, sensitive, and sustainable reuse being proposed for the buildings.
"As well as preserving that heritage, we were encouraged by the educational opportunities and economic benefits to the local community that the project provides."
It was revealed earlier this month that Heinrich Steinmeyer had left £384,000 to the village.
He was a former Waffen SS soldier who was captured in France in 1944 and held at the camp.
He died in 2014, aged 90, and his ashes were scattered in the hills above the camp.
Thanks to his lasting friendships made in Comrie - which he often visited - he chose to leave his life savings to the villagers.
And locals have already begun to join the Steinmeyer Legacy Group which will consult on how best to spend the money, which is to be used for older people.
Comrie Development Trust said none of the money will go towards the self-catering development.