MORAY PLANNERS HAVE agreed that the demolition of a Grade B Listed Building in Elgin should go ahead and make way for a retail unit and several apartments.
The existing building on 184-188 High Street will be demolished, although materials will be reclaimed and used in the new build that will take its place.
Demolition work will include terraced buildings to the rear which will then be replaced with a three-story high block of 15 apartments, which will be made available for short-term rental to tourists or business visitors.
They will also accommodate NHS agency staff, with a legal agreements put in place to ensure that the apartments are retained in single ownership and that each is not occupied by the same tenant for more than nine months, thus preventing their being used a permanent residential homes.
Members of Moray Council’s planning and regulatory services committee were told that the building dated from the first half of the 19th century but had been vacant for around 10 years and was in a poor state of repair.
Although Historic Environment Scotland had submitted an objection, it had supported the demolition and rebuilding of the B listed street front building. The committee heard there were no other objections and that a letter of support for the proposal had been received from Elgin Community Council.
A report by planning officers stated: “The proposal is considered to bring significant economic benefits to Elgin town centre, act as a catalyst for bringing further investment in the town centre and reintroduce a prime retail frontage in a key High Street location as well as providing much needed serviced apartments offering an alternative type of accommodation which will support local businesses and possibly the NHS when trying to recruit staff to the area.”
Following the decision local councillor for Elgin City South, Graham Leadbitter, commented: “This prominent building has lain derelict for many years and is in a very poor structural condition. Today’s planning approval for re-development of the building to form a retail unit and serviced flats is good news for the High Street.
“It will see a crumbling building replaced with a modern structure but which retains the original facade.
“The traditional look of Elgin High Street in this area will be retained, whilst still providing a modern structure that brings important residential units back into our High Street. Getting more residential units in our High Street is widely considered to be one of the best ways of boosting our town centres.”