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New life for closed New Elgin pub and floor plans revealed for Erskine’s transformation of Forres hotel

The latest Moray planning round-up.

The former Caber Feidh Bar in Elgin.
The former Caber Feidh Bar in Elgin.

Welcome to Planning Ahead – our weekly round-up of the latest proposals across Moray.

This week’s round-up has a look at some buildings across the region being put to new use.

We have plans to transform Forres’ closed Victoria Hotel, a new purpose for the back of a former Elgin bakery, and approval for Elgin Baptist Church’s revitalization of abandoned council offices.

But first, a closed pub in New Elgin located near a busy road could be given a new lease of life…

SUBMITTED: New life for closed pub

The former Caber Feidh Bar.

A few years ago, the Caber Feidh Bar on Main Street in New Elgin shut down.

Since then, the property which countless people drive past every day has lain empty.

Inside the former pub.

Shepherd Commercial is advertising the building to let on new full repairing and insuring terms for £16,000 per annum, exclusive of VAT.

They have suggested that the property could suit remaining as a traditional pub or other uses including restaurant or hot food takeaway.

The bar area in the former Caber Feidh Bar.

What could the former pub be turned into?

The former Caber Feidh Bar could be given new life.

Now Ali Balal wants to turn the former pub into a hot food takeaway.

He is being represented by Grant and Geoghegan Limited.

The floor plan includes booths for customers to sit in to eat the food.


Floor plan for transformation of the pub.

SUBMITTED: Erskine’s plans for closed Forres hotel

In December, we exclusively revealed how armed forces charity Erskine wanted to transform the Victoria Hotel into an activity and day centre for veterans.

A conditional officer to buy the hotel on Tytler Street in Forres had been accepted.


Our exclusive on the plans to transform the hotel into a hub for veterans.

The group already has long-term plans to open in the town’s former Leanchoil hospital, but says their services are needed now.

Erskine bosses are hoping to open the interim venue at the hotel before the end of this year.

Meanwhile, the charity has already partnered with the Leanchoil Trust in their plans to turn the Leanchoil Hospital into a community hub, veterans centre and affordable housing project in 2027.

History of the hotel

Since 1864, Victoria Hotel has been a landmark at the west end of Forres.

Over the years, it has held endless dances, functions and family celebrations. It operated as a hotel until January 2020.

Victoria Hotel in Forres.

Now the charity have submitted plans to transformed the ground floor of the hotel and public bar into a veteran’s activity centre.

The upper floors will no longer be used as accommodation and there will be public access to the ground floor only.

LDN Architects LLP are representing the charity in planning.

Here are the floor plans:

Games room floor plan.
Ground floor plan.

Reception floor plan.
Plan for the current function suite.

SUBMITTED: Fresh bid to give life to the back of former Elgin bakery

Drawing impression of transformation. Image: Martin Archibald

Earlier this week, we revealed the back of a former Elgin town centre bakery could soon be given new life.

This rear section of the building at 212 Elgin High Street, once home to Smillie The Baker, was used to service four shops.

Now it could be turned into a takeaway.

Jennifer and Neil Taylor of Sanus Moor Limited are behind the proposals.

APPROVED: New life for abandoned council offices

Elgin Baptist Church pastor Graham Swanson outside the old Moray Council building.

The former Moray Council offices at 7 Academy Street in Elgin have lain vacant for a while.

In December 2020, Elgin Baptist Church’s plans to breathe new life into the abandoned building to expand its offering to the community were approved.

The new space will be used for Sunday morning youth work sessions, mother and toddlers group and much more.

Our coverage about the plans when they first emerged.

Pastor Graham Swanson previously told us the space would be “crucial” to help the church remain a focal point of the community.

He said: “We have always been looking for somewhere to have our youth activities and when this became available right across the road it seemed the ideal thing to go for.

“It would be used for our youth groups and community activities going forward.”

CM Design has been representing the church in the planning process.

Floor plan for the transformation. Image: CM Design

This week, planning chiefs approved a building warrant for the main contractors to carry out the refurbishment.

While the church have been waiting for this news, they have been clearing up the building to ensure it was ready to be transformed.

In recent years, the church on Reidhaven Street has rapidly expanded.

Spotted any plans you think we should know about? Get in touch at