Councillor wants action before eyesore hotel turns from a 'nuisance' into a 'danger'

It is one of the largest commercial properties on the Main Street of Newton Stewart, yet the future of the Grapes Hotel still remains in serious doubt.

Friday, 11th June 2021, 4:56 pm
Updated Friday, 11th June 2021, 4:58 pm
The Grapes Hotel is rapidly falling into a state of disrepair

The building has become something of an eyesore after many years of seeming abandonment, with many constituents and business owners in the town concerned over its present condition.

Mid Galloway and Wigtown West councillor Jackie McCamon is among those worried that it is rapidly falling into a state of disrepair.

She said: “A considerable number of constituents and other business people have approached me in recent weeks to raise their concerns over the condition of the building.

"In all my adult life, I have never known the hotel to be anything other than a detriment to the town. There was work carried out on the property a few years back, but then these repairs were left incomplete.

“Debris is falling from the site and people are naturally worried by this. I contacted Dumfries and Galloway Council who assessed the site and informed me they do not deem it a danger, more of a nuisance.”

Councillor McCamon is not prepared to wait until it is a danger and also worries that the appearance of the building, in such a strategic location in the town, could detract from other investment in Newton Stewart.

She said: “I know the property was up for auction late last week, but when I looked again on Monday it was still available and offers were being invited before the end of the week.

“Too many of our town centres are being let down by poorly maintained buildings that have a negative impact on businesses. The property has a lot of potential, especially if someone is prepared to invest. I have been in discussion with senior council officials regarding options that may be open to the community if no improvements are likely to come soon.

“Newton Stewart is a town with so much potential as the gateway to the Galloway Forest Park, but currently that potential is being stifled by buildings like The Grapes.”

Councillor McCamon has written to who she believes is the owner, and until she receives a response will continue to pursue possible avenues to improve the current situation.