New plans have come forward for a filling station and coffee shop development on the gateway site of Arbroath’s former Seaforth Hotel.
The prime site near Arbroath FC’s Gayfield Park is the target for a development global firm Euro Garages say will bring 50 new jobs to the town.
But their bid has prompted fears much-needed tourist accommodation could be lost to Arbroath and Angus since the application appears to signal the end of the road for a 24-bed hotel and restaurant plan approved in mid-2018.
The green-light for pub chain Marston’s proposal was seen as a positive step in the saga surrounding the site, where the distinctive whitewashed Seaforth building stood until it was ravaged by fire in an early morning fire in 2006.
Euro Garages have now come forward with the fresh scheme, for a filling station, associated retail unit, drive-thru coffee shop and electricity meter kiosks.
The company do not currently own the site, but will buy the land if planning approval is granted.
Angus Council has set a determination target date of March 9 for the application.
The applicants said that, if approved, they hope to start work on the site late this year or early in 2021.
Tom Jeremiah, group planning director at Euro Garages Limited said: “This is one of the many sites we will be presenting to planning in Scotland for 2020 and the first submission of this new decade.
“The site has been vacant for 13 years following a fire at the former Seaforth Hotel in the early 2000s.
“We now hope to bring life back to this site by providing our world-class and contemporary services to passing motorists as well as local residents and businesses.
“The development will generate 50 new part-time and full time employment opportunities and we are committed to resourcing from the local area.
“Whilst most of our customers will be passing the site as part of their journeys, we hope to welcome local residents for a top-up shop and a coffee”.
The Seaforth was originally a grand house from the 1820s and opened as a hotel in 1934 offering 19 rooms, a swimming pool and two function rooms which hosted many of Arbroath’s major social events.
The untidy state of the site led to it being labelled an “ulcer” on Arbroath and developers failed in an attempt to convince planners to relax restrictions which would have cleared the way for flats to be built on the land.
Marston’s, who have not commented on the new proposal, had said they hoped to start work soon after the delegated planning approval was granted in a move welcomed at the time by town councillor Derek Wann as “great news” for the area.
In 2019, Euro Garages started building or completed 38 new roadside service developments across the UK. The firm currently operates almost 6,000 sites globally in countries including the USA, Australia and across Europe.
The firm is also behind plans for a similar development at Orchardbank in Forfar and last year bought the well-known Guthrie Brothers family garage business in Montrose for another scheme of the same nature.