Mixed reaction to hotel rebuild plans

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She said: “I think a new hotel would be great for the village, but I don’t know what is wrong with the original site of the Drumtochty Arms.

‘‘It was a focal point of the village but this new site is quite out of the way.

“There have been two previous applications in years gone by on this site for housing, and they have been turned down. The site is not zoned for building in the Local Deverlopment Plan and a lot of gardens back onto it.

“I think there is a fear that if the hotel gets the go-ahead then it will pave the way for more building to the west of the village.”

Sophie Mathers said: “The village definitely does need a pub, however, if the plans do go through, would Drumtochty Castle Ltd get the council to put the street lights back on after midnight and put pavements or a path and more street lights down the glen road to the planned site?

“Or will we all be walking back into the village in the pitch black? Yes, the idea is great, but the planned site isn’t an ideal one in my opinion. Also, what will happen to the old site - will it remain the way it is?”

There are no current plans for the former site of the Drumtochty Arms.

The hotel was gearing up to re-open after a 12-month refurbishment when the explosion ripped the building apart on January 7, 2009.

RUBBLE

The blast reduced parts of the building to rubble and injured barmaid Danielle Ormond, local man James Guthrie and kitchen porter Neil Coffield.

Danielle Ormond, who suffered significant injuries including a collapsed lung and fractured vertebrae in her neck and back, has launched a legal action and is seeking £200,000 from the hotel’s owner and gas contractor.

However, both parties deny they caused the explosion which saw saw television, radio and newspaper reporters descend on Auchenblae and local people turned out in force to watch emergency and demolition crews at work.

Members of the public have until February 28 to comment on the plans on the Aberdeenshire Council website.