Residents in Aberfeldy have hit out at plans for more holiday homes in the town – claiming affordable housing is desperately needed instead.
A developer has lodged proposals to turn the old Cottage Hospital – which has been empty since 2001 – into holiday rentals.
A petition against the plans by Sally Murray, 60, has already attracted hundreds of signatures.
Others have also lodged objections directly with Perth and Kinross Council.
Why are people objecting?
Sally told The Courier: “We have so many youngsters here looking for a house and trying to get on the property ladder.
“With all of the holiday accommodation, they can’t do that, developers are buying out local people.
“People working here can’t get a house here. House prices are soaring and developers are snapping up everything.
“It’s just huge a slap in the face.”
Another resident, Susan Hoare, says while tourism is important, there needs to be a focus on “local aspects of life” too.
Their case is being supported by several politicians.
Pete Wishart, the SNP MP for the area, claims Perth and Kinross Council‘s Conservative-led administration has abandoned plans to buy the building and turn it into social housing.
He said: “What is needed is a tourism strategy that prioritises locals whose views have, for too long, been cast aside.”
SNP councillor Mike Williamson says a failure by the council to buy the property for public use “will not be forgotten”.
But John Duff, Conservative councillor for Highland Perthshire, says the price of buying the building from the NHS made the project unviable.
He added: “The proposal to convert the hospital buildings into holiday accommodation is extremely unwelcome when there is a much greater need for more residential homes in the town.
“I support moves by the community to have this planning application rejected in favour of a different plan for more homes.”
What are the plans?
It would involve removing what have been branded “ugly” extensions to the original building, which dates from 1879.
In addition, there are plans to build a further four holiday units on the site.
The developer, London Edinburgh Properties, has not responded to requests for comment.
However, in planning documents, it says the project means the building is “being saved from redundancy”.
It also says holiday accommodation within walking distance of the town centre is “much-needed” and will “bring a positive contribution to the local economy”.