Hotel owners slated over town “eyesore”

THE DETERIORATING state of the once proud Royal Hotel in the centre of Forfar was raised once again last week when members of Forfar Community Council returned from their summer break.

In the past members have condemned the apparent lack of attention from hotel owners Oxford Hotels and Inns, and have hit out at the double standards shown by the company which also owns the impressive Carnoustie Golf Hotel.

Chairman Mrs Isobel Ross said she was concerned about the state of the hotel building, describing it as a “complete eye-sore”.

She said: “I am concerned about the lack of maintenance to the hotel building and I hope officers of Angus Council are taking a very strong line with Oxford Hotels and Inns. I don’t see them getting any interest as it is an eye-sore and is not being maintained and I am worried the building will deteriorate. I hope something can be done quickly”.

The doors at the Royal Hotel closed in June 2010 after over 300 years trading. Since then there have been complaints of water pouring out of pipes during heavy rain, and earlier this year the work on the canopy at the front of the building was criticised.

Exactly a year ago members of the community council hit out against the declining state of the Royal, and in particular the pend leading through to the car park although it was the canopy at the front door which caused the most concern.

At Thursday’s meeting the chairman also criticised a number of problems in the town centre.

She called for the steps outside the Member Services offices at the Cross to be given a “good sweep down”, and asked for the sign with the Angus Council logo to either be repainted or renewed.

There were weeds outside the council offices and a road sign warning of a “road narrowing” had been positioned outside Member Services for some time.

“These do not give a good impression for visitors coming to this town. These need to be looked at. It’s a matter of good housekeeping.”

Councillor Glennis Middleton defended the council workforce whose attempts to tackle the weeds in the town had been affected by the weather.

However, community councillor Mike Lawson stated he felt these issues showed a “total degeneration of services”.

A spokesperson for Angus Council confirmed the council has, at various times over the past few years, been in contact with the owners of the Royal Hotel regarding repairs to gutters/roof, the removal of vegetation from gutters, the removal of loose elements from the canopy and to make the building secure against unauthorised entry.

When asked what steps the owners were taking to maintain the property, a spokesperson for Oxford Hotels and Inns said: “We are doing everything we can to ensure a quick sale or lease of the property. We had recently agreed terms but unfortunately the deal fell through. The property is both safe and secure. We have responded to every request made from the council and as a result the building’s maintenance is compliant with building control regulations.”