THE HILLSIDE Hotel has re-opened under new management after plans by its previous owners to convert the building were turned down.
The proposal, to alter and extend the existing hotel to include self-catering accommodation, had been determinedly opposed by residents, at a public meeting and in 85 letters of objection to Angus Council’s development standards committee.
Under the plans, the existing bar lounge facility would have been retained and a new kitchen added, but the single-storey annex removed. The proposal for the upper accommodation would have seen five en-suite bedrooms and the existing building would have been extended to the rear, two storeys and an attic in height.
But the scheme was rejected by councillors in May following recommendations by infrastructure services director Eric Lowson, who said the building would be out of scale with surrounding buildings and represented “an unacceptable impact on residential amenity due to the height of the proposed extension, its proximity to existing and proposed neighbouring properties and by virtue of overlooking of those properties.”
It has been taken over by Norman Braes, former licensee of The Black Abbot pub in Montrose, which was this week welcomed by Kathleen Ritchie, chairwoman of Hillside, Dun and Logie Pert Community Council which had opposed the proposals.
More than 60 people attended a public meeting, called by the community council, in the village hall in March. Concerns included the possibility that the self-catering flats could be sold off jeopardise the hotel business if there are complaints and that the development would be an over-intensification of the site.
Mr Braes said he has taken over the business as a going concern and will start to serve bar meals from this week and intends to introduce an a la carte menu by the middle of next month. He also said the nine en suite bedrooms will be completely refurbished as will the hotel’s beer garden.
He said: “After a long drawn out negotiation I have finally taken control of the Hillside Hotel. The bar will be well stocked and I’m looking forward to welcoming customers and regulars old and new.
“The lounge can accommodate small gatherings of up to 60 people in the meantime with a range of catering to suit all needs from a simple finger buffet to a full three-course dinner.”
Mrs Ritchie said the move is “very welcome news” for the village.
She said: “We were very concerned about the hotel for some time. I know Norman Braes and know his track record, which is very good. I know he will make a success of it and will be welcomed by the whole village.
“It will be a welcome boost for the hotel and the villagers and I’m sure, given that Hillside is set to grow in the future, it will be well used.
“I think the residents will get what they need and what they want in the future and I hope the public will support it.”