An iconic north-east castle with links to author Bram Stoker is to keep its B-listed status.
New Slains Castle near Cruden Bay was given the designation by Historic Environment Scotland in April.
But owners Mountwest 4 Ltd lodged an appeal, arguing there was not enough evidence that the castle was of historical interest to give it protected status – despite its famous links with the tale of Dracula.
The Scottish Government has now dismissed their appeal, meaning the clifftop castle – said to have provided the inspiration for Dracula’s Translyvanian home – will keep its listed status.
Reporter Timothy Brian said the structure, which was originally built at the end of the 16th century, is of historic interest.
He said that despite its current condition, its architecture and links with one of the most famous authors make it stand out as well.
Mr Brian said: “I conclude that New Slains Castle is indeed of special architectural and historic interest, despite the loss of its roof, floors and interior; due to its age and the rarity of elements of the building, its distinctive plan
form, the quality of its design, its prominent setting, and its close historical associations with outstanding literary figures including Bram Stoker.”
>> Keep up to date with the latest news with The P&J newsletter
Mike Shepherd, from the Port Erroll Heritage Group, said the decision to retain status has been welcomed.
He believes it strengthens the case to turn Slains Castle into one of the region’s leading attractions.
Mr Shepherd said: “The ideal way forward for Slains Castle is for it to be made a tourist attraction if money could be found to make the building safe and build a visitor’s centre.
“The association with Bram Stoker has made the castle world famous and it could be a star attraction for Aberdeenshire tourism given the long-term strategy of boosting local tourism.”
A spokesman from Historic Environment Scotland said they were “pleased” their designation had been upheld.
He said: “It’s an important part of Scotland’s heritage and listing will help to ensure that its special character will be celebrated for generations to come.”