Landmark Fife hotel unveils new plans to be converted into flats

A landmark hotel in a Fife village could be converted into two houses and three flats after a planning application was lodged this week.
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The B-Listed Woodside Hotel in Aberdour could get a new lease of life as residential accommodation if councillors approve the proposals from owner, John McTaggart. The move comes after extensive bids to sell the venue as a going concern, and changing it to an exclusive use hotel.

The Woodside has been squeezed by a plethora of budget chain hotels and Airbnb properties, and Mr McTaggart said it was no longer viable. He took it over in 2017 when it was in a state of neglect and carried out major refurbishments and improvements to the fabric of the building - and its reputation.

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Lockdown hit the hospitality sector hard, and the hotel also had to contend with major flood damage after a freak storm which put its function room, bar and Clipper restaurant out of action for months. Despite changing its operating model,launching cabaret style live music nights, themed dining evenings, and establishing it as a live music venue playing host to a number of renowned singer-songwriters and musicians, it was no longer viable to run as a business. Among the big names be brought the the village were Tom Robinson, Glen Tilbrook from Squeeze, the late Rab Noakes, and hosted the Cash Back in Fife festival.

The Woodside Hotel, AberdourThe Woodside Hotel, Aberdour
The Woodside Hotel, Aberdour

The application to turn the building into flats and a four-bedroom home come on the back of previous approvals.

The aim is to convert the central main part of the hotel into three distinct high quality three-bedroom, and the west wing into a single four-bedroom flat.. The proposal also aims to demolish the existing rear outbuildings which house the kitchens and toilets along with the bar and restaurant to form gardens or extensions to the proposed properties.

The hotel’s west wing - known as the Dairy House - which houses the function room, bar and restaurant at ground level and bedrooms at first floor will be reformatted to remove a lot of the non-original elements. A new kitchen/dining room will be placed under the historic glass ceiling.

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En-suites to the hotel bedrooms will be either removed or repurposed to form better spaces

The application also proposes converting a smaller laundry building to the rear of the hotel into a unique smaller one-bedroom home.

The hotel was first put on the market in 2021 and its business model changed to an exclusive use venue. It was put back on the markert in March.

A supporting statement submitted as part of the planning process, said: “The applicant has done everything within their control to make the hotel a success, including the way it is managed with the hope to ensure a viable business could be sustained. Unfortunately, they have been facing unprecedented market conditions for a sustained period, coupled with significant monetary investment into the property which has culminated in a business that is no longer viable to continue. The nature of the building has meant constant expensive maintenance.”

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The Woodside’s external appearance- particularly from the High Street - will remain unchanged although decoratively improved as repairs are carried out to some roof detailing and windows as required.

Councillors will consider the application in due course.

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