One of the designers behind a new convenience store in a Moray village has insisted it will benefit the area in the long-term.
The Co-op is moving onto the site of the historic Tennant Arms in Lhanbryde, which was demolished after it closed down.
But yesterday, one of the architects behind the new shop said the decision to knock down the pub had not been taken lightly.
Colin Keir, a partner in the Plans Plus architectural design firm, said: “There’s nobody disputing that it is a beautiful building, it absolutely was but it had to be moved for planning reasons.
“I’m looking at this as the phoenix rising from the ashes, there is not going to be a Co-op shop like this in the whole of Scotland, this will be one of the most pleasing to the eye.
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“There’s a history in that a number of people wanted the building to be retained, it’s documented that we it would have been more financially viable for my client to have kept the building but we could not get 17 parking spaces, we could only get 15.”
Some locals have also questioned the need for a Co-op when there is already a grocery store across the road.
But Mr Keir said the development gives residents more choice, adding: “If the shop-keeper across the road retires, who is going to be left?
“If that shop is shut then where will the 2,000 or so people in Lhanbryde, Urquhart or Garmouth going to go? They will be pleased to have the shop here as it gives them a bit of flexibility.”
Construction crews are using stone from the original Tennant Arms as building materials as they look to replicate the pub as much as possible to quell complaints about it being a possible eyesore.
It is expected the shop will open in autumn.
The Tennant Arms stood on St Andrew’s Road in Lhanbryde since 1854, and during its heyday was a popular hotel for people travelling between Aberdeen and Inverness.
Local resident Gill Stewart was sad to see the building knocked down and campaigned against it but has now relaxed her position on it.
She said: “It’s not going to be a bad-looking building but it still should not be there.
“It looks like there is still a long way to go for them to get it built but at least they are using some of the old stone.”