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Queen’s Close: Has white elephant Montrose homeless hostel finally found a new owner after 15 years empty?

Queen's Close in Montrose has been empty for a decade and a half. Pic: Kim Cessford/DCT Media.
Queen's Close in Montrose has been empty for a decade and a half. Pic: Kim Cessford/DCT Media.

An Angus homeless hostel which hasn’t been slept in for a single night in 15 years might finally be offloaded.

Queen’s Close in Montrose was the scene of a fatal fire in 2007.

The 11 bedsit B-listed building was given a £355,000 upgrade by Angus Council following the tragedy.

But it’s never been used since.

Queen's Close in Montrose
Queen’s Close runs off Montrose High Street. Pic: Kim Cessford/DCT Media.

And a bargain basement deal to sell it for just over half the £200k asking price of a previous bid to get rid of it fell through.

It was put back on the market in March.

The council’s selling agents Shepherd Commercial set a closing date for offers last week.

That suggests there has been fresh interest in the building off Montrose High Street.

But council chiefs are not giving anything away on the deal.

They said: “We’ve no information at the moment about Queen’s Close in Montrose.”

Councillor’s relief over sale prospect

However, the last person to work there says prospect of the saga finally coming to an end is good news.

Jill Scott was a housing support planner at the time of the fire death.

She was elected as an Independent councillor for Brechin and Edzell at May’s Scottish elections.

Jill Scott at Queen's Close homeless unit in Montrose.
Councillor Jill Scott was the last person to work at Queen’s Close when it was a homeless unit. Pic: Kim Cessford/DCT Media.

Branding it a “bloody waste” of the building, she suggested it could have been used to house Ukrainian refugees.

“I hope the closing date means there was a decent bit of interest in Queen’s Close,” she said.

“We might finally see this sorry saga come to an end.

“It’s a great building inside and shameful that it’s never been used since all that money was spent on it.

“Hopefully it can serve a useful purpose again soon, and the council can get badly needed capital receipt from its sale.”

Queen's Close Montrose
Pic: Kim Cessford/DCT Media.

What a new owner will get

Queen’s Close covers 5,186 sq. ft over three floors and has:

  • 11 en-suite bedsits
  • 2/3 bedroom attic flat
  • Laundry
  • Four communal kitchens
  • Door entry system
  • Fire sprinkler system

The refurbishment bill in the wake of the fatal fire went £100,000 over budget to £355k.

And the council was then unable to get a House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) licence because of changes to the rules.

A bid to strike a deal with a housing association also failed.

The saga has now stretched over four administrations of the local authority.

 

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