Hotel “still viable business”

AN Aberdeenshire Council economic advisor has stated that the Heugh Hotel is still viable as a business.

An application has been lodged with Aberdeenshire Council asking for permission to turn the Heugh Hotel into a house.

The application follows the placement of the Heugh hotel on the market last year. Whilst there was some interest in buying the Heugh as a hotel, the offer which was made on the building was dependant on planning permission being granted to revert the Heugh back to a home. A consultation has been taking place into the application.

Aberdeenshire Council’s senior business development executive, Robert Armstrong, has stated that “the business remains viable”.

Mr Armstrong said: “The financial accounts provided confirm adverse trends. Overall the adverse trends noted do need to be reversed, however, in my opinion the business remains viable, at present.”

The Heugh carries a 3-star “small hotel” grading from visit Scotland has three twin rooms and three single rooms along with a restaurant, bar, lounge and a small functions room.

Concerns have been raised over the loss of the hotel as it would impact the towns availability of accommodation for tourists.

In his letter Mr Armstrong addresses this concern. He said: “It is the highest ‘graded’ hotel remaining in Stonehaven and its loss will further reduce the diversity of accommodation on offer in the town.”

The letter continues: “The town has lost a number of hotel businesses in recent years, which has led to an unwelcome decline in the range of accommodation on offer.”

The letter also states that it is assumed that any change of use will result in job losses and states: “The number employed in the business has not been provided, however, it is assumed that there will be some loss of employment directly and indirectly as a result.”

Mr Armstrong concludes the loss of the hotel would not be in line with government or council policy.

During their December meeting last year, Stonehaven and district Community Council decided to object to the plans.

The grounds of their objection was that the business is still viable and it has not been advertised on the market as a hotel for 12 months.

The application has attracted 19 representation in total. Many of these express residents concerns over the loss of accommodation.

One representation states: “There have been too many hotels in out community already lost yet other Aberdeenshire towns eg. Inverurie, Westhill, Banchory, Ballater continue to thrive.

“The quality of life for Stonehaven residents and visitors alike should be given careful consideration before granting this proposal.”

One representation describes the “uniqueness and special identity” of the Heugh whilst another says it has “finesse” not found anywhere else in the Town.

The time to comment on the application has now expired.

The application will come before the Kincardine and Mearns area committee in due course.