Flats plan for town centre hotel Ossian’s
A FORT William hotel could be transformed into 32 residential flats for people over the age of 55.
High Street hotel Ossian’s has submitted planning permission to the Highland Council to convert the building into 32 oneand two-bedroom flats.
The hotel was built around 1900 and extended in the 1960s when it was bought by Wiggins Teape to provide accommodation for workmen building and operating the pulp and paper mill. It returned to being a hotel in the 1970s and has been owned and operated by Derek and Janice Wallace since 1994.
Previously described as ‘ Fort William’s ugliest building’, it currently operates around seven months of the year, with 35 bedrooms across four floors.
The existing bar/restaurant will relocate to the basement.
A supporting statement to the council said: ‘One group in particular, pre-retirement, retired and elderly, frequently look for town centre accommodation which gives them easier access to public transport and services.
‘This age group is rising in numbers rapidly and is predicted to keep rising. This group has specific needs and requirements as they downsize, so the demand is for high quality, low maintenance, energy efficient and secure accommodation, which can adapt as their needs change with age.
‘This will be achieved with two lifts as well as two stair accesses, all from Middle Street, wider doorways, a solar roof, triple glazing and an entry system.’
The High Street location will reduce the reliance on private cars and increase the use of public transport.
‘We acknowledge town centre car parking is restricted, but with 32 flats replacing 35 bedrooms, possibly 75 guests, we do not see any increase to parking demands.
‘The development owns a small car park, on Middle Street, opposite the building. This is presently used by the hotel and has 10 parking bays.
‘To assist with this, reduce car running costs and reduce carbon emissions, we intend to use the present hotel car park to house a small fleet of pool cars.
‘This will most probably be three electric cars for short distance travel, and five conventional cars, but consultation with the residents’ association will determine the best ratio.
‘Charging points will be placed in the dedicated parking lot. A residents’ association will be set up to organise and monitor use of this fleet. The cars will be available for residents who choose to opt in to the system.’
View of Ossian’s Hotel from Middle Street.