A near £2 million windfall of Scottish Government cash could be used to kickstart fresh attempts to reclaim the abandoned Drummond Arms Hotel in Crieff.
The eyesore building, which famously hosted Bonnie Prince Charlie in the dying days of the Jacobite uprising, has become a “dangerous” blot on the high street since it closed for good more than a decade ago.
A community group has been battling to have the hotel converted into housing, in a move locals believes could significantly bolster the town’s economy.
However, efforts to redevelop the building have hit a brick wall. Last year, the building’s owner failed to respond to a deadline, set by the local authority, to allow access for survey work that could have allowed restoration to progress.
Now Perth and Kinross Council is considering using its share of a new £50 million Scottish Government fund – ring-fenced to improve town centres – to breathe new life into the hotel.
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The local authority is at this stage keeping tight-lipped about its “commercially sensitive” plan to redevelop the building.
On Wednesday, members of the strategic policy and resources committee will be asked to put forward £600,000 of the area’s £1.9m share into “costs linked to the Drummond Arms”.
A further £800,000 is expected to be spent boosting tourism in Kinross. The money would go towards improving links between the town centre and the visitor-friendly Loch Leven area.
It is also proposed that £200,000 goes to community and cycling hubs in Coupar Angus, and £383,000 on the development of events spaces in Pitlochry.
Strathearn councillor Roz McCall (Conservative) pushed for the Drummond Arms to be a top priority.
“We have been working with the community on a plan for two years,” she said. “I’m delighted that we have reached this stage.
“I honestly believe that sorting out this building is absolutely key to regenerating the whole area.”
The move is being backed by the Crieff Community Trust which has spend years fighting to revive the building.
Chairwoman Ailsa Campbell said: “We are really grateful for Perth and Kinross Council’s continued support.
“The Drummond has been the top priority for Crieff for at least 10 years now. Just yesterday, I was sent a photo of the hotel showing one of the lower windows open.
“People are getting inside. The building is insecure and dangerous, the floors are rotten. Someone could get trapped in there.”
No one from the owning company – Glasgow-based Strathfare – was available for comment.