Residents have rallied to fight plans to close a north-east village’s only watering hole.
The owners of the Learney Arms in Torphins want to shut the pub, restaurant and hotel and are asking Aberdeenshire Council for permission to change its use to a family home.
However, the news has been met with a wave of shock and astonishment by locals, who have already started a campaign to keep it open.
Torphins has already lost its butcher, fishmonger and baker in recent years and has just two surviving shops.
The pub is used as a meeting place for groups including the Torphins AFC football team, the local bridge club and the golf club.
Local resident and Torphins community council secretary Will Maclean said members would be holding urgent talks on the issue this evening.
And he said it would be “sorely disappointing” if the community lost its beloved local.
“We have got a meeting on of the council on Monday night regarding the planning application because it is open for public response,” he said.
“Speaking as a resident I would say people have been concerned at the possibility of the community ceasing to have a hotel, along with its various facilities.”
Mr Maclean said he could accept that the business might be struggling, as was the case with many rural pubs these days.
However, he urged the owners to think about the key role the Learney Arms played in Torphins life.
“It has a public bar, meeting facilities and accommodation. It has been quite heavily used by tourists and a lot of business people.
“It would be a shame to lose an important hub within the community,” he added.
In a supporting letter sent with the application to Aberdeenshire Council, Sandra Johnston, who co-owns the business with her husband Murray, said the Learney Arms had been up for sale for two and a half years.
She added: “Over the course of the last 18 months business within the hotel has declined considerably.”
Torphins councillor Geva Blackett said she and her colleagues would think carefully about the issues.
“I will be carefully considering what the community says and balancing that with policy,” she said.