A FORMER prisoner of war camp which once held top Nazi Rudolf Hess is proving a massive hit with businesses looking for a place to set up.
Cultybraggan Camp, near Comrie in Perthshire, once had barbed wire and armed guards to keep 4,000 Axis prisoners from breaking out.
But now local entrepreneurs are desperate to break in and convert Nissen huts where captured fascists once slept and ate into units for industrial or commercial use.
Rudolf Hess, Hitler’s deputy, spent time at the camp following his ill-fated flight to the UK in 1941 to try to broker peace with Britain.
The camp was bought from the Ministry of Defence by the local community from £350,000 in 2007.
Planning proposals submitted to Perth and Kinross council show interest in operating out of the camp’s huts has not waned.
Comrie Development Trust said most of the inquiries related to using the huts as offices, for industry, or for research and development.
The body has also received enquiries about converting buildings for use as a distribution centre.
One enterprising local is even planning to create a gym in one of the old Nissen huts.
The trust said it “considers that bringing both listed and unlisted huts into appropriate use helps to safeguard the future”.
Demand is also high from local individuals and organisations that appear to be short of storage space.
“This is generally short to medium-term storage of furniture, club equipment and garden equipment,” said the trust.
Mindful of the historical importance of the camp, the trust added: “It is not intended to carry out any physical works to the inside or outside of the listed buildings.”
The camp’s most famous prisoner ejected from his Messerschmitt above Eaglesham, East Renfrewshire, and was found by a ploughman before being taken into custody by the Home Guard.
He was eventually tried at Nuremburg and died in prison in 1987.
The camp, which held both German and Italian POWs, was also home to the ringleaders of a plot to spring a quarter of a million Axis prisoners from camps in 1944 and attack Britain from within.
The leaders of the Devizes plot, based in a POW camp in Wiltshire, were sent to Cultybraggan, which was known as Camp 21, and designed to house the most die-hard fascists.
Cultybraggan was the also site of the notorious murder of German POW Sergeant Major Wolfgang Rosterg by his fellow inmates.
Soon after he was transferred to the camp, he was found hanged after apparently speaking out against the Nazis.
At a subsequent trial, five men were found guilty of killing him and sentenced to death.
Not all committed Nazis had grim memories of the POW camp.
In 2009 it was reported that former SS soldier Heinrich Steinmeyer was leaving his home and life savings of £430,000 to residents of Comrie because of the generous and fair treatment he received at Cultybraggan.
He was reported as saying: ‘Cultybraggan was a holiday camp compared to the fighting. The whole place was so beautiful. It went straight to my heart, and I thought “why have I been fighting this bloody war?”
‘They were tough, but always fair. I didn’t expect to find this attitude – I was not just the enemy, but a Nazi.
‘Such friendliness was a surprise, but it is in the British nature. It was so much better than being told to lie in a filthy foxhole – and to die there.’
The MoD retained the camp, based among picturesque hills, as a training site after the war but it was closed in 2004.