A MASSIVE fire has ripped through a derelict hotel owned by Stagecoach tycoon Ann Gloag - days after conservation chiefs stalled her plans to knock the building down.
A blaze ripped through the Waverley Hotel - a notorious abandoned eyesore near the centre of Perth - late on Tuesday night.
Gloag wants to raze the hotel, on the corner of Caledonian Road and York Place, and build a gym and hall for the neighbouring Trinity Church of the Nazarene, of which both she and fellow transport boss brother Brian Soutar are members.
Just last week Historic Environment Scotland said they were not yet convinced the case had been made to demolish the former hotel.
The listed building was most recently used as homeless accommodation - but was closed in 2011 and has fallen into disrepair.
Today, witnesses told how a blaze ripped through the building late on Tuesday night.
Meanwhile, a police car was parked at the entrance to the building today as the scale of the damage became apparent in the daylight.
A massive hole has been ripped in the roof of the building and the damage is understood to be extensive throughout.
Firefighters were called to the scene at 9.39pm on Tuesday after the fire took hold in the roof space.
It is understood damage was caused to all three floors of the main building.
Eight fire appliances turned out and it took them more than four hours to get the blaze under control.
The building was empty at the time and no-one was hurt in the fire.
Local residents said the huge fire had seen flames leaping from the roof.
Local builder Robert Bywalec said: “It was a bad fire - the flames were right through the roof.
“It will need to be demolished. The building can’t be safe now.
“The firefighters were having a real battle to put it out.”
And a local resident, whose flat overlooks the hotel, said: “The big ladders were out and the flames were licking up over the roof.
“The roads around the hotel were all closed while they dealt with it.”
A spokesman for the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service said: “We received the call at 2139 on Tuesday night.
“The fire was in the roofspace of the derelict hotel.
“We had a number of appliances in attendance - three from Perth, one from Dunkeld, four from Dundee.
“Two of those from Dundee were support units rather than firefighting units.
“The fire was extinguished by 1.55am and the last appliance left 2.25am.
“An investigation will now take place to establish how the fire started.”
Gloag and Soutar bought the hotel in 2011 and launched plans to demolish it and build facilities for the neighbouring church.
However, that has been repeatedly blocked by preservation chiefs who say the case has not been fully made for razing the building to the ground.
The former hotel is a listed building - but is described by locals as an “eyesore” and “blot on the landscape”.
It sits just 400 yards from Perth city centre and is on the main road from the west into the city.
Windows on the building are boarded up and it’s gardens are overgrown as a decision on it’s future is awaited.