Into Kinross and beyond ...

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A Kinross man is set to boldly go where no man has gone before with the launch of a unique, Disney-style space centre.

Former glider pilot Alisdair Stewart’s vision for the ambitious facility is due to take a giant leap forward tonight (Thursday) when a public consultation gets under way.

Local people are invited to Loch Leven Community Campus to hear Alisdair’s proposal as well as a talk by Andrew Rae, professor of experimental and applied aerodynamics at the University of the Highlands and Islands.

The event is to be chaired by Kinross High School rector Sarah Brown, a keen supporter of the plan.

Alisdair, who is chairman of the Kinross-shire Partnership, a rural development company funded by Perth and Kinross Council, hopes to attract some 60,000 visitors annually to the centre, which would be sited on the western outskirts of Kinross.

It would comprise a fully immersive 3D planetarium, flight simulator, airsports showcase, lecture theatre, retail space and restaurant.

It will primarily be an educational resource to inspire the young space scientists and engineers of the future.

Alisdair has been developing the idea for over a year now and a feasibility study has been undertaken.

Known as ‘ASK’ – Aero Space Kinross – the facility will be the trading subsidiary of a new social enterprise, Aero Space Scotland Educational Trust.

“ASK will be an iconic new leisure venue at an excellent strategic location in the heart of Scotland,” said Alisdair.

“The Kinross-shire Partnership, Dundee Business School Abertay University, and Perth College have conducted market research. The target market is 2.75million people within an hour’s drive of Kinross.

“ We hope to attract families with children under 16, schools and tourists and the centre will be available for corporate events, exhibitions, gala dinners and private parties.

“It will be an amazingly cool place to spend leisure and work time, providing a state-of-the-art interactive and learning facility that strikes the right balance between a fun and fascinating visitor attraction and an invaluable learning resource.”

“The first major challenge for such an ambitious project will be obtaining funding, and several months of relationship development with potential trusts, foundations, corporates and government agencies lie ahead before we will know whether or not this concept will ‘fly’.”

Alisdair explained that the consultation event is aimed at getting feedback on the designs that have been drawn up over the past year.

Questionnaires will also be distributed in the local community.