Committee paves the way for demolition of Oban's Argyll Hotel

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Published Date: 

1 Dec 2011 - 15:07

The owners of the Argyll Hotel in Oban have been granted permission to demolish the category C-listed building.

Argyll and Bute Council’s planning, protective services and licensing (PPSL) committee made the decision on the basis of new information on the condition of the building and associated health and safety concerns.

Listed building consent for the hotel’s demolition was originally granted in April, at the same time as planning permission was granted for a replacement hotel building on the same site.

However, a condition of that listed building consent was that demolition should not start until the owners had secured a contract for the site’s redevelopment. This is standard procedure recommended by both the Government and Historic Scotland to avoid unsightly gap sites.

Last week, councillors discussed an application from the building’s owner to remove that condition, so allowing the demolition to commence before a contractor for the new building is in place.

The decision to approve the application was made on the recommendation of the council’s planning department, which had assessed both a new survey of the building commissioned by the owner and a report from the council’s own consultant engineers, as well as the advice of the council’s building standards manager.

Councillor Daniel Kelly, chair of the PPSL committee, said: “This building has suffered from further structural deterioration during the course of this year, and the advice we have received from our own officers and consultants is that its condition now raises significant public safety concerns.

“On that basis, we have agreed that it is appropriate that the Argyll Hotel is demolished as soon as possible, provided that safeguards concerning the means of demolition and how the site is to be left pending redevelopment are addressed to our satisfaction.

“We are currently liaising with the building’s owner over these issues, along with road safety issues and the protection of adjoining property.

“For some time the council and Historic Scotland have accepted that the building, despite being listed, is life expired and incapable of future use as a hotel, and that there is wider benefit in seeing the site redeveloped for a modern hotel. I look forward to that redevelopment progressing at the earliest opportunity.

“In the meantime, I would like to thank Argyll and Bute’s planning and building standards teams and the PPSL committee – which includes four Oban, Lorn and the Islands members - for their work on this sensitive issue over several years. This has been a long and difficult process, with a need to adhere to regional and national procedures at all times.

“The aim throughout has been to ensure we secure the best possible outcome for Oban’s residents and visitors, and this is an important step on the road towards achieving that.”