Dunfermline Press

Plan to convert ‘landmark’ Aberdour hotel into homes

- By Ally McRoberts Reporter amcroberts@dunfermlin­epress.co.uk

A “LANDMARK” West Fife hotel that was built almost 150 years ago is to be turned into two houses and three flats.

The Woodside Hotel, on the High Street in Aberdour, is a category B-listed property that dates back to 1875 but the owners said keeping it as a viable business was “virtually impossible”.

Plans to convert it were submitted in June and have now been approved by Fife Council.

Owners John and Lis McTaggart took over the Victorian-era hotel in 2017 and last year put it on the market for £750,000.

In a planning statement Mr McTaggart said it was a difficult decision to turn the hotel into housing and said the pandemic, recruitmen­t issues, high energy bills, the ongoing cost of living crisis and a “plethora of budget chains and Airbnbs” have all hit the Woodside and the wider hospitalit­y industry hard.

It continued: “Although the Woodside is not vacant or derelict as of yet, the proposed developmen­t is seeking to address the situation before it gets to a stage where it is both vacant and derelict.”

The aim is to convert the central main part of the hotel into three distinct high quality flats while the west wing will become a single four-bedroom home.

The smaller laundry building to the rear will be turned into a smaller one-bedroom home.

The existing rear outbuildin­gs, which house the kitchens and toilets along with the bar and restaurant, will be demolished to form gardens or extensions to the proposed properties.

The plans also include the addition of solar panels, rooflights, external parking, replacemen­t doors and windows, and landscapin­g.

The planning statement said: “We recognize the importance of the original hotel and its position in the conservati­on area and wider village context and the proposals have been formulated to respect this and not be detrimenta­l or too intensely developed.”

It stressed that the external appearance of the

Woodside particular­ly from High Street will remain unchanged.

The McTaggarts had been granted permission in 2018 to change the use of parts of the hotel to two residentia­l townhouses, but, following added pressures due to the pandemic, they instead modified layouts to reduce the number of changes required and planned to retain more of the existing building.

Attempts to downsize in 2021 were also unsuccessf­ul, the number of rooms at the Woodside was cut from 20 to 13, but it wasn’t enough to save the business.

When the couple, who also ran a cafe in Aberdour, purchased the property in 2017 there was “disrepair, every room, and every part of the building needed renovation” but they believed they could “turn around the hotel’s fortunes”.

Major refurbishm­ents and improvemen­ts were carried out to the fabric of the building and its reputation.

However, lockdown hit the Woodside Hotel particular­ly hard, and the hotel also had to contend with major flood damage after a freak storm put its function room, bar and Clipper restaurant out of action for months.

The planning statement added: “It was challengin­g maintainin­g a viable business through the winter prepandemi­c, and now virtually impossible post pandemic.”

It highlighte­d that the Aberdour Hotel has also been placed on the market for sale.

 ?? Image: David Wardle ?? BID: John McTaggart outside the Woodside Hotel in Aberdour.
Image: David Wardle BID: John McTaggart outside the Woodside Hotel in Aberdour.
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