A massive fire has ripped through the derelict Waverley Hotel in Perth owned by Stagecoach tycoon Ann Gloag days after conservation chiefs stalled her plans to knock the building down.
A blaze ripped through the building – a notorious abandoned eyesore near the centre of Perth – late on Tuesday night.
Fire crews were called at around 9.40pm and brought the flames under control shortly before 2am.
The blaze broke out in the roof space and at its height 33 firefighters were on site.
Police are expected to visit the Grade C-listed building today as the investigation into the cause of the fire continues.
Ms Gloag wants to raze the hotel, on the corner of Caledonian Road and York Place, and build a gym and hall for the neighbouring Trinity Church of the Nazarene, of which both she and fellow transport boss brother Brian Soutar are members.
Just last week Historic Environment Scotland said they were not yet convinced the case had been made to demolish the former hotel.Click here for a full photo galleryThe listed building was most recently used as homeless accommodation – but was closed in 2011 and has fallen into disrepair.
A massive hole has been ripped in the roof of the building and the damage extends to all three floors of the main building.
Local builder Robert Bywalec said: “It was a bad fire – the flames were right through the roof.It will need to be demolished. The building can’t be safe now.
“The firefighters were having a real battle to put it out.”
And a local resident, whose flat overlooks the hotel, said: “The big ladders were out and the flames were licking up over the roof.
“The roads around the hotel were all closed while they dealt with it.”
A spokesman for the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service said: “We received the call at 2139 on Tuesday night.The fire was in the roofspace of the derelict hotel.
“We had a number of appliances in attendance – three from Perth, one from Dunkeld, four from Dundee.Two of those from Dundee were support units rather than firefighting units.
“The fire was extinguished by 1.55am and the last appliance left 2.25am.An investigation will now take place to establish how the fire started.”
Ms Gloag and Mr Soutar bought the hotel in 2011 and launched plans to demolish it and build facilities for the neighbouring church.
However, that has been repeatedly blocked by preservation chiefs who say the case has not been fully made for razing the building to the ground.
The former hotel is a listed building – but is described by locals as an “eyesore” and “blot on the landscape”.
It sits just 400 yards from Perth city centre and is on the main road from the west into the city.
Windows on the building are boarded up and its gardens are overgrown as a decision on its future is awaited.
Video courtesy of Stuart Cowper Photography