Lease of redundant outbuildings at Turnberry generates Scotsman story

The major part of the buildings at Turnberry Lighthouse consisting of redundant keeper’s accommodation were sold in 1992 to the then owners of Turnberry Hotel.  NLB retained the bothy, a utilities building and the lighthouse itself.  NLB entered into a lease with SLC Turnberry Limited in 2015 for the bothy and utilities building which were no longer required for NLB use. Although the lighthouse tower remains in the control of NLB and was not leased out, a key feature of the arrangement was the transfer of responsibility for the care and maintenance of the lighthouse itself which offered considerable savings to NLB and the ship owners who pay Light Dues.

The Scotsman story has been largely based on information and documents provided to the journalist under a Freedom of Information Request, all of which you can access through the following link FOI-NLB-065


Our Chief Executive, Mike Bullock, told the Scotsman journalist:

At the outset, NLB’s intention was to set a fair and equitable agreement for the property which protected NLB’s buildings in the long-term and reduced costs attributed to payers of Light Dues, and when setting the rent took into account all factors not least the burden taken on by the Resort for the care and maintenance of the lighthouse tower and buildings. A lighthouse of this type is repainted at an interval of 8 to 10 years and on each occasion costs around £120,000. This saving has already been realised once, as programmed painting was undertaken by the Resort as part of the work to create the half-way house. In addition, responsibility for routine general maintenance of the tower, buildings and the care of the dome access system lies with the Resort.

When determining the rent, NLB requested a report and a rental valuation from the UK Government Valuation Office Agency. This provided a ball park rental range of £600 to £1500.  The figure was discussed both within NLB and with our solicitors and £1200 was determined to be a reasonable return given the significant additional financial benefits of transferring maintenance costs of the operational lighthouse tower to SLC Turnberry, while maintaining all necessary access rights.

In answer to the question asked, NLB has achieved good value for money with this lease. Two otherwise redundant buildings have been rented out to the sole potential tenant along with responsibility for their maintenance. The operational lighthouse remains in NLB’s control but its fabric is maintained at no cost to NLB. In summary, this arrangement offers a significant saving to the ship owners who pay Light Dues.


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