Blueprint for housing on derelict hotel site

Plans have been lodged to build houses on land at the Grapes Hotel, Newton Stewart and create a retail space inside the former pub.

Allied Irish Bank, which owns the much-criticised building, is seeking approval of its plans from Dumfries and Galloway Council.

If passed, the development could breathe new life into the abandoned site which has been a blot on the town’s main street since it was closed down around 10 years ago. The prominent but derelict building has been boarded up since the company which owned it, Westrock Developments, went into administration in 2009.

It has since been the subject ofseveral council orders to tidy it up and make it safe after falling masonry was reported, and earlier this year vandals broke in and started a fire.

Old signage and an over-door canopy were removed, but the frontage has continued to deteriorate and some have called it an embarrassment to the conservation area of the town (though the building itself is not listed).

Bids to find a buyer through a local estate agent have been unsuccessful.

Mid Galloway councillor Graham Nicol welcomed the news this week.

He said: “It would be good to see something being done with this building as it has been an eyesore for a long period of time and any remedial work has been paid for by the council to make it less of any eyesore to the public.

“It would be good to see someone make use of it and with plans for a retail businesses and dwellinghouses, it will further enhance the streetscape of Newton Stewart.”