Moray villagers have forced a developer into a dramatic U-turn on plans to knock down a popular local landmark.
A proposal to demolish the 19th century Tennant Arms building in Lhanbryde to make way for a new Co-op grocery store was endorsed by Moray Council a fortnight ago.
But the news was greeted with dismay by residents, who launched a concerted crusade to save the former pub and hotel from destruction.
Yesterday, it emerged developer Tahir Pervaiz had been stunned by the backlash to the scheme.
And the architectural firm which is overseeing the venture confirmed that Mr Pervaiz will now examine ways of incorporating a shop into the building – rather than tearing it down.
He has struck a deal to buy more land at its rear to create more parking spaces, so the original structure can be kept.
Campaigners hailed the turnaround as a victory – but insisted their battle was far from over.
St Andrews Road resident, Moira Windwick, is the third generation of her family to live opposite the Tennant Arms.
The pensioner objected to Mr Pervaiz’s application – and was left “gutted” when Moray Council gave it their blessing last month.
But, following the volte-face, she said: “The Tennant Arms is the heart of the village, it would have been a real shame to see it go.”
Fochabers Lhanbryde councillor, Sean Morton, added: “We have to be pleased that we have been listened to.
“That is a victory, but we need to see what these new proposals are and we still have a long way to go.”
Lhanbryde Community Challenge chairwoman, Anita Milne, declared: “There are still road safety concerns, with delivery vans possibly parking at the front of the store.”
And campaigner Gill Stewart added: “This is progress, but we have to remember that the application to knock it down has been approved, so we can’t rest.”
However, Mr Pervaiz’s design consultant, Colin Keir, has pledged to work with residents to form a new proposal.
He said: “My client has been moved by the passion of the Lhanbryde people for this building.
“He has given me a remit to come up with an alternative, to see if we can save the building.
“He felt that, if there’s another way, then we should find it.”