One of the north-east’s most popular events venues will be demolished to make way for a new bistro restaurant, if plans for its future are approved by council officers.
The Tufted Duck hotel in St Combs, near Fraserburgh, closed to guests permanently in July during the first coronavirus lockdown, when owners Conrad and Lesley Ann Ritchie made the decision to revamp the business into a bar and bistro.
The couple opted to close the four-star rated 20-bedroom hotel, built in the 1970s, despite it being a popular destination for weddings and corporate events for the past 46 years.
That decision left many would-be brides and grooms booked to get married there disappointed, while the owners blamed a loss of trade during the coronavirus pandemic lockdown for the decision not to reopen after restrictions were lifted.
Mr and Mrs Ritchie also said they relied on two functions per week to make the business, which employed 19 staff, viable.
And back in July, as is still the case today, there was no date in place for when large gatherings would be allowed again.
Now plans have been submitted by the Ritchies’ firm Quitie Limited, to demolish the hotel and rebuild a modern restaurant and bistro in its place.
The application by planning agent Paul Whitham, submitted to Aberdeenshire Council planners this week, states that pre-planning inquiries have already taken place and show detailed plans for a single-storey but multi-level restaurant, bar, function room and lounge to seat around 100 diners.
The building includes a bar, beer garden, bistro restaurant and a small function area.