Following yesterday’s refusal of planning permission to divide the historic Kintore Arms Inn into two Class 3 food and drink units
, East Garioch councillor Martin Ford has urged the owners not to delay and open the premises as soon as possible.
The Garioch Area Committee of Aberdeenshire Council
went with planners recommendations and voted to refuse the planning application and listed building consent for the Kintore Arms Inn. The council had received 85 objections for the planning permission and one supportive submission.
After the refusal, Cllr Ford said Kintore needs an inn and is certainly large enough to support one, or more than one. "The applicant has not demonstrated that the existing hotel business is not viable,” Cllr Ford said.
“But the proposed subdivision certainly calls into question how the upstairs hotel rooms would operate subsequently, potentially compromising the overall use of the building as a tourist facility. As such the application for subdivision and change of use is clearly contrary to policy,” Cllr Ford continued. "The lack of detail from the applicant means it would be completely inappropriate to agree the listed building consent."
Commenting on the assertion of the applicant’s agent that a refusal might lead to a protracted closure of the Kintore Arms Inn, Cllr Ford responded:
"I want to see the hotel back in use and open again. It is not in the interests of the owner or the wider community for the building to stay shut.
“The new owner has clearly spent a considerable amount to buy the Inn, and will want an income from the property. The community wants a pub in the town, and the population must be large enough to support that.
“This doesn't mean there can't be changes, and clearly the owner is perfectly entitled to make planning applications as he wishes. But the planning policy to protect the building's use as a hotel is right. The Inn is important to the character and vitality of the town centre."
The B-listed Kintore Arms Inn is in a prominent location in The Square in Kintore's town centre, close to the magnificent 18th century Town House.
The front part of the building was sold last summer and the Inn has remained shut since the property changed hands. This has left the 4,500 residents of Kintore without a local pub or hotel, whereas a few years ago there were two in the town. Twenty years ago there were three.
Between 2000 and 2010, 950 new houses were built in the village and Kintore was named the fastest-growing town in Scotland. With proposals for a further 600 to 1,000 houses Kintore needs new community facilities.