The latest stage in the refurbishment of a once derelict hotel is expected to lead to the creation of up to 14 new full-time equivalent jobs in a Moray seaside village.
The owners of the historic Seafield Arms plan to bring its function hall back into use in a £469,465 project, which will allow it to host major functions including weddings and business conferences.
Now the village’s biggest employer, with a workforce of 52, the hotel, on the corner of Cullen square, lay empty from 2011 until 2017. Around £1.6milliopn has since been invested in re-opening and upgrading the 21-bedroom establishment, which was recently awarded four-star status by national tourism body VisitScotland.
The function hall refurbishment project has been awarded funding of up to £100,000 by development agency Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE).
Scott McKnockiter, business development account manager with HIE in Moray, said: “Tourism is a key sector in the Moray economy, particularly along the coastal areas. Over the past three years we have seen the Seafield Hotel progress from a derelict and unused building into one of the area’s most prominent visitor facilities and a key asset to the sector.
“This latest project by the company will add not only to the hotel’s own capacity but to Moray’s wider visitor offering.
“It will prove a great attraction to Cullen and generate much needed employment opportunities in and around the village, as well as bringing benefits for other local businesses.
“We are very pleased to be able to provide support and look forward to seeing the refurbishment works progress.”
Seafield Arms managing director, Charles Milne, added: “We are extremely grateful for the support of HIE, which will enable the early completion of this exciting final phase in the re-development of the Seafield Arms Hotel.”
The latest stage of the hotel’s re-development was also welcomed by Banffshire and Buchan Coast MSP, Stewart Stevenson.
He said: ““I am delighted for the Seafield Arms Hotel which is a key asset for both the local hospitality sector and the surrounding area.
“The funding from HIE will be a much needed boost in reaching the milestone target set by the hotel to refurbish its function room.
“We know how hard hospitality has been hit in the north-east by the Covid-19 pandemic and any financial contribution to support improvements is very welcome.
“The Seafield Arms Hotel is a key employer and I look forward to watching it go from strength to strength.”