Application for replacement of exploded hotel

A planning application for the replacement of a Mearns hotel that exploded five years ago was launched this week.

The Drumtochty Arms Hotel in Auchenblae exploded in 2009, after a strong smell of gas was noted in the kitchen, injuring three people.

An Aberdeen firm was fined £7,500 for breaching the Health and Safety Work Act 1974 later that year.

The application is a renewal of a formerly approved planning application from 2009, but that consent expired with no action taken.

The site is now derelict with only the butchers shop and flat to the south-east and the former bothy to the north-east still remaining.

In the design statement, the agents write that as the application was already approved before, this should go through and be treated as a “welcome addition to the high street of Auchenblae” and that it will “allow a derelict site to be regenerated and enhance the village square”.

The design statement goes on to say: “The ground floor consists of a large Entrance Hall with staircase, lift and reception area. This leads onto a public bar and games room and a restaurant, lunge and function suite with kitchen and toilet facilities. The first floor accommodates 8 en-suite bedrooms. The second floor will be used for storage and staff offices.”

It also adds: “The new hotel is to be finished externally with natural stone to the tower and basecouse, the front elevation will be rendered in an off-white wet dash render.”

Councillor George Carr said: “The butcher’s shop nearby’s been good news for Auchenblae, and I think anything supporting the community has got to be a good thing and I’m sure it will receive plenty of support.”

The application which was validated on Monday, October 19 has received four public comments which support the application.

One reads: “I wholeheartedly support this application. There are so many people that don’t know the other members of the village anymore as there is not a meeting place.”

Another reads: “I cannot stress how much I support the application of a replacement hotel. The site where the old Drumtochty Arms is opposite my property and is an eyesore on such a beautiful village. The services provided by such replacement are much demand. Far better solution than erecting flats.”

The expiry date for public comments is Sunday, November 8.