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Space / Plans could be submitted for ‘£60m to £70m’ Saxa Vord hotel by end of the year

An aerial view of the Saxa Vord site with the gin distillery at the lower left.

A PLANNING application to demolish the existing Saxa Vord Resort accommodation and build a hotel in its place could be submitted by the end of the year.

SaxaVord Spaceport CEO Frank Strang said the budget for the project in Unst is now sitting at £60 to £70 million.

It is part of the suite of plans for the spaceport project, which is in the process of receiving all the necessary consents.

The hotel would be used to house people working on space activity, as well as tourists.

Speaking to Shetland News this week, Strang conceded the Saxa Vord Resort is “tired”.

He turned the former RAF camp into a holiday resort after buying the complex from the Ministry of Defence in the early 2000s.

It features hostel-style accommodation alongside a seasonal restaurant and self-catering houses.

But it is not open to the public at the moment as the site is being used for the spaceport project.

“We are building a 21st century space centre,” Strang explained, “so the launch site is the launch site, and in keeping with that we need to build an accommodation facility that is iconic.”

He said in the short term the team would install modular bedrooms before demolishing the site.

“We’ve engaged architects who will be working with Alan Farningham, our planning lead,” Strang continued.

“We aim to put in a planning application by the end of this year that will feature a new iconic building on the existing hotel site.”

He added that the revamped site could be similar to Cornwall’s Eden Project, which is a series of domes.

The spaceport team believes that people will visit Unst to view rocket launches, boosting an already busy stream of tourists to the island.

Strang wants the proposed new hotel – which could offer office space too – to be “a tourist facility that Shetland can be proud of”.