A historic shop in a Moray town centre could soon find a new lease of life as tourist accommodation.
A bakery stood at the top of Elgin’s Moss Street for more than 70 years until the former Smith’s and Ralph’s premises shut nearly a decade ago.
Now proposals have been submitted by Jean Stalker to revitalise it as a home to eight serviced apartments for tourists and temporary workers visiting the area.
Designers stress that all of the buildings to the rear of the shop front have now crumbled beyond the point of being able to be repaired.
However, it has been proposed to retain the former entrance to the bakery and repair and renovate the retail outlet as a laundry room for residents.
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Documents submitted to Moray Council’s planning department by agents Ashley Bartlam Architects explain the proposed flats would have an open-plan bedroom, living and kitchen area with en-suite shower room.
They state: “The serviced apartments will be marketed to tourists visiting the area as well as people working here for a few weeks who appreciate good quality services accommodation in the heart of the town with accessibility to restaurants, pubs, shopping and leisure facilities.
“It will help bring more people and, with them, vibrancy to the town centre especially in the evenings as they go out to eat and explore the town.”
Industry leaders have highlighted that the shortage of tourist accommodation in Elgin could be holding back attempts to increase footfall to the town.
A four-star hotel has been proposed as part of a potential £200 million growth deal for Moray while planning permission has already been granted to Travelodge to build a 61-bedroom site on the eastern outskirts of the town.
Last night, Laurie Piper, operations manager at Moray Speyside Tourism, explained it was important to provide a range of accommodation options for visitors.
He said: “We need to do more to increase the capacity in the area to welcome visitors to Elgin and the rest of the area.
“It’s exciting to know that developers are considering rejuvenating some buildings that have been out of use for a number of years as part of this.”