THIS week's Councillor Column is written by Helensburgh and Lomond South councillor Richard Trail (SNP).

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THE new owners of the Kilmahew Estate in Cardross have plans for the future development of the former St Peter’s Seminary – and for the whole estate around it.

The Kilmahew Education Trust, who bought the property from the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Glasgow last year, are not the first people to have had schemes to restore the seminary and turn it into a visitor attraction – but the new proposals are certainly the most ambitious.

They aim to turn Kilmahew into an attraction to rival Blenheim Palace and Kew Gardens.

Their plans were revealed to the Cardross Community Council at their last meeting. The breadth of their proposals could only be described as astonishing. They encompass not just the main building of the seminary, but the various ancillary buildings, and gardens. Even Geilston Garden is on the radar to be part of their grand plan.

READ MORE: Could St Peter's Seminary in Cardross be part of Scotland's next World Heritage Site?

The seminary is A-listed, and has attracted the interest of other groups in re-purposing it. A proposal for a housing development in the estate grounds came to naught. Most recently NVA had the site and cleaned up the building and started to develop community plots in the walled garden.

They held a spectacular light show within the seminary more than five years ago now, which was a sell-out and brought visitors to Cardross, and to the wider Helensburgh area from across the world.

The NVA plans were always small scale to be developed gradually over time. The new owners are thinking much bigger.

Their proposals, if they come to fruition, are to see 375,000 visitors a year coming to Kilmahew. The business will have a turnover of £12.5 million per year. The capital cost of creating a UNESCO World Heritage site will be up to £112m.

READ MORE: Opinion - 'Are Kilmahew estate plans too good to be true?'

The new owners are simply a husband and wife team. It is a staggeringly ambitious project for two individuals to undertake.

They say that their past experiences have been good preparation. The chief executive officer of the Kilmahew Education Trust, Stuart Cotton, has in the past worked for Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs, where he created the first ever multi-agency intelligence unit to disrupt organised crime gangs. He has also been consultant to an important independently owned film library.

The architectural masterpiece that is St Peter’s has attracted interest around the world for many years. It was in the brutalist, modern architectural style of Le Corbusier. The building never fulfilled its promise and was beset with defects during its short life as a seminary.

The difficulties facing the Kilmahew Education Trust are not trivial. Can they succeed where others have failed?