THE owners of the Woodside Hotel are looking to simplify plans to scale back their business following added pressures from the economic stress of the pandemic.

John and Lis McTaggart had been granted permission previously by Fife Council in 2018 to change the use of parts of the hotel in Aberdour to two residential townhouses.

However, they now wish to vary that consent by modifying the layouts to reduce the number of changes required, retain more of the existing building and reduce the scale of the proposed extensions visually.

They believe this will make construction more cost-effective while improving layouts and securing the future of the hotel.

The plans would reduce the main hotel to 13 bedrooms but the existing restaurant and bar facilities would be unaffected.

The applicants say that, from the High Street, the building frontages would be largely unaffected, but, to the rear, the development would create an opportunity to vastly improve the appearance and layout of the buildings.

Their agent, Signal Architects, stated: "My clients have invested a large amount of their energy and finances into the hotel and the purpose of renewing the previous consent for the two houses was to reduce the scale of the hotel to a more viable and manageable size and offer a higher-quality experience to guests with the sale of the redeveloped properties

generating capital to allow this to be done successfully.

"However, as a result of the current pandemic, the economic situation going forward from this and the impact this has had and will continue to have on the leisure and entertainment industries, my clients have decided to begin exploring other options for the property should the economic viability of the hotel be further stressed.

"The viability of the hotel as it currently stands is in question, with many parts of the hotel externally in poor repair, particularly to the rear of the building, and are also requiring extensive maintenance and therefore capital investment.

"This, combined with limited success in increasing customer numbers and ongoing competition from a neighbouring smaller hotel, means a significant change is required to the property to allow their investment to be protected and for the buildings themselves to be protected and retained as a key element of the conservation area of Aberdour and the built heritage of the village, albeit with a different use."

The hotel has been operated by Lis and John since they bought it in 2017.

They also own McTaggart's café in the village and have been residents of Aberdour for a number of years.

Woodside is a Grade B-listed property within the conservation area with a central three-storey building and additional wings to each side which were formerly other properties incorporated over time into the main hotel.

The previous owners had gained consent in 2014 and the consent was renewed in 2018 by the McTaggarts.

The planning application added: "As in the original application, downsizing the hotel and changing the business model would hopefully bring the hotel back into a commercially-viable business."