THE owner of the Lundin Links Hotel says he’ll look to develop the building into a care home if business doesn’t pick up soon.
At a recent public consultation meeting to discuss an application for planning permission in principle, just under 40 locals heard how Martin White was giving consideration to redeveloping the hotel into a retirement facility.
Mr White plans to replace the hotel with an equally iconic landmark building, featuring a clock, and designed with modern insulation to fit its new use.
He also hopes to include a new bar and restaurant in the building, so it can at least continue in part in its current use for locals and passers by.
Mr White said: “There is clear demand for a retirement facility in the area and several people have made enquiries about it already.
“This plan is my back-up plan in case the recession continues or worsens.
“I am still open for business as usual and would prefer to trade out of the recession, but I’m not sure if that will be possible.”
Mr White moved to clarify reports made elsewhere that he had planned to develop retail units on the hotel site as false.
Local councillor Marilyn Whitehead was another who attended the meeting, along with architects and development consultants.
Members of the public were keen to find out more about the proposal, and heard that ample parking would be provided for residents and guests.
A possibility of creating an underground car park was also suggested, but this was believed to be a non-runner at this stage.
The point was made from the floor that the community did not wish to see a long slow death for the building, with the property slipping into receivership.
The feeling was that this would be the worst outcome in the long term.
Mr White said local businesses had been made aware of the potential change of use and did not oppose the plans.
“The hotel is 112 years old and needs a lot of work to maintain and improve it and has been closed several times during the last 30 years or so,” he added.
“The current economic environment is not good, the UK is in the worst recession in living memory and the Euro zone is also in trouble.
“The hotel sector is a very competitive place and there is an over supply of hotels in Fife, especially during the winter period, which puts pressure on prices.
“The business needs a back-up plan in case the current recession gets worse or continues for a long time.”