Council could sell off estate gifted to people of Dundee

The outdoor centre on the Belmont Estate

Cash-strapped Dundee City Council could be set to sell off an estate which was gifted to the people of the city 99 years ago, the Tele can reveal.

The local authority wants to dispose of Belmont Estate in Meigle, near Blairgowrie.

The estate was gifted to the city in 1918 by Emma Marryat, sister of Sir James Caird, who used to live at Belmont Castle and gave Dundee the Caird Hall and Caird Park.

The site now plays host to an outdoor education centre.

One councillor predicted today that the local authority could make “millions” from the sale but said council bosses had to make sure they were getting the best deal possible.

The council says money raised from any sale, and cash saved from the upkeep of the estate, would be invested in other projects in Dundee.

But it insists the future of the outdoor centre is safe — as a lease is in place until 2114.

Councillor Kevin Keenan, leader of the Labour group on the council, said: “I understand that they are selling it to bring in revenue. I would hope that the sale would bring in a sum in the millions.

“It was agreed that the money raised from the sale would be used for the common good of the city and I am hoping that it brings in a huge amount.

“I am looking for the council to maximise the money it makes from selling the estate.”

It is believed that the running of the estate costs the council tens of thousands of pounds every year.

The local authority has launched a consultation on the move.

It is seeking permission to amend an act, approved in 1990, which says that money from the sale of Belmont has to be reinvested in the estate itself, rather than the city seven miles away.

A consultation document produced by the council states: “Due to its location it does not provide facilities which are readily accessible to the citizens of Dundee.”

It added that “there is no longer any strategic reason for Dundee City Council to continue to own Belmont Estate”.