Moray village residents cheered by new hope for their Hotel

AN ALTERNATIVE FUTURE could yet be in store for the Moray hotel at the centre of a furious campaign to stop it being turned into a grocery store.

The Tennant Arms Hotel in Lhanbyrde has been the centre of controversy since owner Tahir Pervaiz put forward plans to build a store on the site.

A fixture in the Moray village since 1854, local people took exception to the building being demolished – and even assurances that it would retain its current look have not encouraged campaigners to accept it despite planning permission having already been granted.

However, the company behind a campaign that raised £2.5million to open the Glen Wyvis Distillery in Dingwall has stepped in to say they might be able to able with a community buy-out that could return the building to its former use.

Co-operative and Mutual Society (CMS) say that the building still has potential to be a bustling local business without any need to remove it. CMS Director Dave Hollins says that the firm helps community groups to organise by-outs that help bring buildings back into use through share schemes.

Mr Hollins believes that the Tennant Arms could be a future project for CMS: “It still has the potential to be a café, shop or restaurant attached to some hotel accommodation – which I understand is much needed in the area.

“I’ve been in Moray to speak to residents and see the building – structurally, it appears to be sound so it appears that it just needs refurbishment work.”

However, any such deal would require the agreement of Mr Pervaiz to sell the building, something he does not show any signs of being willing to do, according to campaigner Gill Stewart who said: “We still think the building can be saved and want to use the support of Mr Hollings in any way we can.”