Community Council wants hotel saved

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Stonehaven and District Community Council have decided to oppose a planning application which would see Stonehaven lose a hotel.

Earlier this month a planning application was lodged to change the use of the Heugh hotel from business to private use.

At the Community Council meeting, vice-chairman Michael Innes expressed his concern over the loss of the hotel. He said: “If we keep losing hotels at the rate we are losing them what can we offer in terms of accommodation for visitors or tourists? In a years time the answer will be not a lot.”

Many on the Community Council echoed these concerns over the loss of a hotel. Another community Councillor pointed out how important the hotel is to the Community. He highlighted the number of clubs who make use of the hotel and described the Heugh as “very important” to Stonehaven.

However, despite the Community Council’s concerns about losing the hotel, some of the Community Councillors felt that it was not their place to comment as people have a right to sell their property.

One Community Councillor said: “If they want to sell their property

they have a right to do that. But we have to look at it as do we say we want this kept as a resource for Stonehaven or do we sit back and let them sell it?”

The Community Council voted to oppose the planning application on the grounds that the hotel has not been advertised as for sale for twelve months and that it is still viable as a business. However this decision to oppose the application left one Community Councillor worried as he felt that if they oppose this now, they could be faced with the building being bought for something else in a years time, such as flats.

This concern was also brought up in a letter presented at the Community Council from the Chairman of Stonehaven Tourism Group, Frank Budd, in the letter he highlights the example of the Tor Na Coile in Banchory where the community came together to save the hotel which was to be turned into flats (the full letter can be seen on page 13).

However due to the listed status of the Heugh Hotel, there are some questions about whether the Hotel could be converted into flats. When contacted about this, a spokeswoman for Aberdeenshire Council said: “The application lodged with the Planning Service is for a change of use of a hotel into a single residential building. The building’s B-listed status will be among matters considered when determining the application.”

“If the owners of the property wished to make alterations to the property in the future they would be required to submit a planning application which would then go through the planning process.

“The fact that the property is a listed building would be considered by councillors in determining the outcome, but as we have not received an application for this we cannot comment on what the decision would be.”