An historic hotel in Newburgh is to face almost total demolition to make way for a Co-operative store .
Councillors at north east Fife planning committee have given the go-ahead to an application to convert the Ship Inn in the High Street, thought to date back some 300 years.
The town’s existing Co-op will be re-located from its present position farther along the high street, where there is no parking provision.
As well as a car park to the rear, the new store will have an ATM machine at the front and a sliding glass door.
But the proposal outraged Councillor David MacDiarmid, one of three elected members representing Newburgh.
He moved refusal of the application, saying it was contrary to a number of local government and Historic Scotland guidelines.
Although it is not listed, the building is in a conservation area and the proposed extension to the rear would include a flat roof.
“Since when has it ben acceptable to have flat roofs on buildings in a conservation area?” asked Councillor MacDiarmid.
“Newburgh is one of the most characterful towns in the whole of Fife.
“We should be trying to preserve its character, not destroy it.
“We should be trying to preserve places like Newburgh.”
Councillor MacDiarmid failed to find a seconder for his motion to refuse the first part of the application, which was for a change of use from pub, bar and restaurant to retail unit.
But he was seconded by Councllor John Docherty when it came to the second part, which sought conservation area consent to demolish most of the building.
Eventually he was defeated by seven votes to four, but the committee added conditions restricting the times lorries can make deliveries and requiring the pavement to be widened to minimise traffic problems.
The committee also heard that the original plans had been amended to allow the existing pub door to be retained as a mock doorway.
The plans had prompted eight objections, including one from Newburgh Community Council.
The loss of the Ship Inn means there are just two pubs left in Newburgh, The Bear and The Abbey Inn.
Councillors were told that the Ship’s owner had tried to make a go of the business but like many licensed premises throughout the UK, it was no longer viable due to a decline in customers.