A plan to turn the abandoned Drummond Arms hotel in Crieff into luxury apartments has been revealed.
A draft business case has been drawn up to develop the derelict eyesore into 13 “high-end” flats and three affordable houses after Crieff Community Trust took possession of the building earlier this month.
The community trust admitted the luxury flats proposal was the “furthest forward” of their plans after other options, including a cinema complex and affordable housing, were considered “not viable” in the long term.
The hotel’s redevelopment has long been seen as the catalyst for the regeneration of the town, although many hoped it could be used as a community hub.
In documents seen by The Courier, Drummond Arms Regeneration Limited, on behalf of Crieff Community Trust, drafted a proposal of their “vision” for the former hotel.
The proposal “envisages luxury town living, with like-minded neighbours in the centre of the community” with “the vision to create an exclusive town-centre residential development”.
Concerns have been raised about the prospect of turning the hotel into luxury flats, with £600,000 of public money being given to the Drummond Arms project through the Town Centre Fund.
In market research contained within the proposal it states: “Tackling the derelict Drummond Arms Hotel was noted as the top priority for people in Crieff during the community consultation process.
“One very popular suggestion was to adapt and re-use the building for a wide range of community purposes including music, arts and drama facilities.”
Strathearn SNP councillor Stewart Donaldson said he hoped for a project that “served all the community”.
Mr Donaldson said: “If it is indeed the case that a project is based almost entirely on mixed tenure housing, but with a clear stress on luxury flats, then it does not seem to me to fit what people in Crieff want.
“Even if you are to add some bells and whistles to make such a project more attractive, there are still questions to be asked.
“Is there a demand for luxury flats in the centre of Crieff, and in sufficient quantity?
“Moreover, on the issue of social and affordable housing there may well be suitable other sites in the town.
“And indeed, if there is a stress on luxury flats then is that what the Town Centre Fund is for?”
David McCann, Drummond Arms Regeneration director, said the long term viability of any project was of the utmost importance.
Mr McCann said: “The most important outcome for me, and I ‘m sure for everyone in Crieff, is that the Drummond Arms development has a sustainable economic future and that five or 10 years down the line we are not once again faced with revitalising the same derelict building.
“No final decision has yet been made on its future, our priority being to make it safe and secure and in a condition that will allow development, however there are proposals and these will be looked at very carefully and due diligence will be carried out to ensure that this historic building is given a new lease of life for the long term.”