The George Hotel, Stranraer
The George Hotel in Stranraer was purchased by the Council on 13 December 2017 to enable the building to be safeguarded from ongoing deterioration with a view to it being restored and re-used.
The building is category B Listed and occupies a prominent corner site in the heart of Stranraer town centre.
We are working to resolve the current situation by every means possible, however, public safety remains and always will be our Council's first concern.
Further information about what's happening can be found in below:
Church Street Stranraer closure/ George Hotel
Why is Church Street closed to traffic?
Due to safety concerns with the roof structure of the George Hotel and to ensure public safety the recommended advice was to close through traffic access along part of Church Street to the junction with George Street. This was to initially allow the Council to remove loose slates from the roof which posed an immediate danger to public safety. During this period of closure there was an opportunity to allow precautionary checks for further structural defects. These checks confirmed our engineer's advice that the roof structure and the majority of the interior had deteriorated to such an extent that it is now considered irretrievable.
As a result of concerns about the potential for further collapse within the roof structure, the consulting structural engineers update report stated: "It would therefore be recommended to create a public safety exclusion zone around the building, in the interests of public safety".
Please note that parking is in the allocated bays only (display disc) for 1 hr only and that no cars should be parked on the road with exception of immediate drop off and no waiting.
How long will it be closed for?
The planned completion date for works is December 2019, this means the duration of the contract will be 22 weeks. As stated above, we will always consider your safety first and foremost, therefore it's likely that the footpath and roadway will remain closed during this period.
Is the diversion route going to cause problems?
We continue to monitor traffic impacts and potential congestion and address concerns. Regarding concerns about the temporary diversion route: the Roads and Infrastructure Service advise that the diversion route along Sun Street and High Street is considered a suitable alternative, with footways on both sides.
Can't it just be demolished now?
The option to demolish will be considered as part of that future report, although it should be noted that as a B-Listed building this would require approval from Historic Environment Scotland and as such is not a decision that rests with the Council. Stabilisation works are urgently required, irrespective of the future of the building, to re-open roads and pathways.
29 July 2019 Update:
Various press outlets have reported this week that the George Hotel is to be demolished. This is not the case at present, although demolition may be considered in the future once structural reports are finalised. As stated above, the building is Category B Listed and the process of de-listing would take many years to complete and would require approval from Historic Environment Scotland. It is not a decision the Council can make.
How can I have a say about what happens with the building next?
Having made the area safe for the public the next stage is to undertake the necessary technical assessment of the building and to identify a sound and sustainable end use for the building that is wanted and that will benefit Stranraer. The Stranraer Town Centre Regeneration Initiative Project includes consideration of future uses, which will be informed by a community and stakeholder engagement programme to be undertaken in parallel with the technical works. Stranraer and the surrounding communities will participate in the decision of future developments. Stakeholder identification and engagement in identifying what the building can, and will be used for, is vital. Relevant plans, sessions and events will be delivered to help develop the business case and will involve the community. We have been in discussion with the Stranraer Moving and Revitalising Taskforce (SMART), Community Councils and local Elected Members.
What has happened to the funding from Scottish Government?
Dumfries and Galloway Council received a £1.8m grant offer from the Regeneration Capital Grant Fund in 2016-17 for the delivery of the Stranraer Town Centre Regeneration Initiative project which encompassed plans for both the former hotel in George Street and the now complete Harbour Master's Office at the marina.
The funding obtained from the Scottish Government included the purchase of the George Hotel by the Council and the refurbishment of the property as a multi-purpose venue. The funding provided is still available for the project.
Is the Council going to have to repay it?
No. The Council intend to use the funding for the purpose it was allocated for. We are in regular contact with the Scottish Government and keep them appraised of all developments.
My business is suffering, can I apply for any compensation?
Local businesses have been contacted personally and regular visits are being arranged. Issues that may be affecting business can be discussed directly with us.
12 July 2019 - Update:
Local businesses remain open and, after consultation with local retailers, an advertising panel promoting nearby outlets has been created and fixed to the hoardings.
Where can I find information updates as I want to be kept informed about what is happening?