THE campaign to secure a last minute reprieve for one of Scotland’s most iconic concert venues intensified tonight, as two possible rescue plans for Perth City Hall were revealed.
In December Perth and Kinross Council rejected proposals - submitted by the Perth City Market Trust and backed by Prince Charles - to transform the Edwardian B-listed Perth City Hall into a destination shopping centre.
A £6 million proposal to convert the empty building into an indoor market and food hall was deemed “not financially viable” by councillors who agreed to resubmit an application to Scottish Ministers for listed building consent to demolish the hall. Historic Scotland has still to make its views known on the plans to demolish the 103 year-old city landmark.
But today, in a new twist in the long running saga, it was revealed that applications for planning permission and Listed Building Consent to transform the disused City Hall into a five-star hotel have been submitted by the Seventy Group, a Perthshire based property company. And the Perth City Market Trust also announced that with its partners, including the Prince’s Regeneration Trust, it had made “significant progress” towards securing full funding with an associated business plan for the Perth City Market project.
‘Market Hall could proceed with little public cash’
A Trust spokesman said: “This new development could see the market hall project proceed with little reliance on public funding, a point that the council had strongly criticised in the Market Hall bid last year. PCMT plans to present updated proposals to the council and Historic Scotland within the next few weeks.”
He added: “In a further development, PCMT met with a developer from the Seventy Group and welcomed the developer’s plan to convert the City Hall into a luxury 5-star hotel, securing the future of the building and providing jobs for Perth. The two groups had very positive discussions about both proposals and have agreed to keep the dialogue open, enabling both options to be developed openly and in parallel.
“Although the council rejected PCMT’s bid in December, PCMT has continued to develop its scheme and now two viable options are on the table. It is clear that the City Hall is readily adaptable for a variety of purposes which could be of great benefit to the economic regeneration of Perth.”
Bruce Linton, chairman of PCMT, said: “We’re pleased to be continuing to move the project forward. Harnessing private funding is helping to show that this is a viable project without dependence on public funding.
“We’re also encouraged to see growing public support for the project, and a further bid to save and adapt the City Hall from a private developer. Our hope is that all these factors will convince the council, and Historic Scotland, that the City Hall can and should continue to be an important feature of Perth.”
32 room hotel plan
A spokesman for the Seventy Group said: “Director of the Seventy Group, property developer Simon Wilson, has been in discussions with Perth and Kinross Council at a high level since December. Mr Wilson has also been in discussion with potential operators and will make an announcement on this matter in due course.
“The sheer presence of this building in the heart of Perth Conservation Area lends itself perfectly to the use proposed, a luxury hotel in the City of Perth.”
He explained that the proposed hotel would include 32 bedroom suites, a fine dining restaurant on the ground floor, and a rooftop terrace bar and restaurant.
The spokesman continued: “This proposal could be the turning point that secures the future of this magnificent Listed Building. Perth City Centre will benefit from the economic investment associated with such a hotel proposal, as will local employment, as in addition to the construction period, it is anticipated that the Hotel will create around 80 new jobs, both full and part time.”