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Rundown Moffat inn is community concern

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By Donald Turvill
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Rundown Moffat inn is community concern

DISCUSSIONS to transform Moffat’s derelict Mercury Motor Inn into a community hub have halted.

It comes after Edinburgh Woollen Mill, the building’s owners, filed notice of its intention to appoint administrators earlier this month, signalling the permanent closure of several of its stores.

Annandale North Councillor Doug Fairbairn had previously been in talks with the company’s portfolio manager Emma Berger. Speaking at Moffat and District Community Council this week, he said: “Emma came out pre-Covid and had a site visit with me and steered me in a direction that something was being done – there was going to be partnership working arrangement with the Co-op, I believe.”

However, Doug explained that discussions had now fallen flat, adding: “I think Emma has gone somewhere else due to the problems with Edinburgh Woollen Mill just now.”

Since its discontinuation as a hotel more than 20 years ago, a range of options for the rundown building have been tabled, with previous interest from the Moffat-based Chefs in Scotland, who looked into transforming it into a business and training centre.

Meanwhile, in recent years the property has been the focus of a local campaign in support of the ex-hotel’s demolition, however the property still remains boarded up and dilapidated.

In 2014, a spokesman for Edinburgh Woollen Mill said the company was “currently working with the local council, community and MP on plans to redevelop the former hotel site,” however, nothing further was heard on the matter.

Moffat community councillor Leys Geddes interjected at this week’s meeting, saying: “If there’s any way at all we’re able to put forward proposals for how we change the Mercury Inn into a community place, a health centre – all those old ideas, constructive ideas that were all there, we must, but we haven’t any idea where to deliver them to at the moment because who’s in charge of anything?”

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