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It’s ready, steady, go for five star hotel

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By Fiona Reid
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It’s ready, steady, go for five star hotel

PLANS for a five star hotel, restaurant and spa are back on track in Dumfries.

Jed and Joanne Clark have been given the go-ahead by planners to transform the empty Crichton Hall into a ‘destination’ venue.

They bought it from the NHS back in 2019 but the outbreak of covid in 2020 saw the conversion postponed.

However, the proposal has recently been granted planning permission and listed building consent by Dumfries and Galloway Council.

And, based on the previous business plan, it’s thought the hotel scheme could create 250 new jobs.

At the time of their purchase, the Clarks promised ‘a significant investment’ in the category A building on Glencaple Road, which dates from 1839.

They also said their transformation would protect and preserve its many attractive features and stressed their background in hospitality, as the owners of Fonab Castle Hotel at Pitlochry.

A series of drawings have been lodged with the local authority, and can be viewed on their website. They show details of the planned changes and layouts to Crichton Hall, including the contemporary spa extension.

Furthermore, planner Toril Glendinning has prepared a report on the case, which is also on the council website.

It notes: “The proposal for a hotel with associated restaurant and spa would represent the beneficial re-use and restoration of a vacant listed building within the Crichton Quarter which is welcomed.

“There are clear benefits of the proposed development in terms of a positive impact on the character and amenity of the locality through the restoration and reuse of this vacant listed building.”

Meanwhile, a council spokesperson this week explained the length of time the application has been in the system, saying: “A letter was sent to the applicant’s agent on 11 March 2021 setting out all of the additional information/amendments which were required for both applications before officers would be able to support the proposals for this important Category A listed building (i.e. one of national importance) within the Crichton Conservation Area.

“Dumfries and Galloway Council did not hear from the agent again until April 2023. After that, there was ongoing engagement with the agent until suitably amended proposals/additional information had been submitted to the satisfaction of all of the statutory consultees and ourselves.

“We were then able to grant planning permission and Listed Building Consent under delegated powers on 21 February 2024.”

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