Villagers oppose hotel plans

Hillside Hotel, which its owners say would be extended and refurbished under plans lodged with Angus Council.'Staff photo
Hillside Hotel, which its owners say would be extended and refurbished under plans lodged with Angus Council.'Staff photo

PLANS to expand the Hillside Hotel have been generally opposed by the local community after a public meeting in the village.

More than 60 people attended the meeting, called by Hillside Community Council in the village hall last Wednesday.

Owners William Percy and Gerry McPherson want to extend and alter the building to include self-catering units and refurbish the building.

But the proposals have been met with scepticism from villagers who have doubts over some elements.

Plans lodged with Angus Council show a new, extended, bar and lounge area on the ground floor of the existing building, with a new kitchen and space for a band. It also shows a large, non-symmetric extension at the back, where the self-catering facilities would be located.

Car-parking spaces would increase from eight to 12, although the vehicle access arrangements are not scheduled for change.

A spokesman for the hotel told the Review previously that the building and its accommodation would be completely refurbished.

There will be a lift for disabled guests and a brand new reception area at the car park side of the building.

There are five proposed self-catering units and five letting bedrooms in the refurbished hotel, fewer than at present but they would be to a higher standard.

But community council chairwoman Kathleen Ritchie said the public meeting had raised “lots of concerns.”

She said: “There was some concern that the self-catering flats could be sold off at any time and could jeopardise the hotel business if there are complaints. It was also felt it would be an over-intensification of the site and there were quite a few concerns about parking and the hotel being able to do meals - the plans for the kitchen are quite small.”

In a written statement, which was circulated at the meeting, the hotel’s owners said they are “optimistic” that the refurbishment will help with a trial reintroduction of serving food.

They also said there is a “market opportunity for good quality self-catering.”

The statement said: “Overall, we also believe the hotel appearance will improve - a high quality extension will provide a much better ‘finish’ to the hotel, compared to the current ‘wasteground/sheds’ to the rear, thus projecting a much tidier image for residents.

“If the business remains ‘as is’ we see little prospect of an uplift in footfall locally and do not have the lay-out or level of furbishment to attract a significant new customers base.”