AN APPEAL has been submitted to the Scottish Government after plans to turn a North Queensferry hotel into flats were refused.

Fife Council’s west and central planning committee rejected proposals in August to change the use of the Albert Hotel, on Main Street, which has been closed and boarded up for four years.

It enjoys stunning views of the Forth Bridge, the hotel was actually built before the world heritage site, but owners Festival Inns said it couldn’t continue in its current use and applied to convert the listed building into four flats.

The proposals were met with 133 letters of objection, with councillors agreeing with planning officers that the applicant had “fallen short” of proving that a tourism or community facility was not viable.

However, Festival Inns have now asked the Planning and Environmental Appeals Division to overturn the council’s decision and grant planning permission.

In a statement, Festival Inns said:”The reasons for refusal are unsubstantiated. It is not evident that the appeal proposal conflicts with any other relevant LDP (local development plan) policies as set out in the supporting documents.

“There are no adverse impacts which significantly and demonstrably outweigh the benefits of the appeal proposal. No material considerations have been identified by the council that indicate the appeal should be refused. It is therefore respectfully requested that planning permission and listed building consent is granted.”

It added: "The council's objection to the principle of development appears to be predicated on non-planning and land use matters related to commercial marketing details of the site.

"These are not relevant matters and form no part of planning policy. This judgement also appears to be driven by commercial and valuation factors that appear to respond to public objections related to other legislation."

At the committee meeting in August, planning service manager Mary Stewart had said: “There is a valuable community asset here so it comes back to whether we have satisfied the tests set out in the development plan and our assessment is that those tests have not been satisfied.

“If, after a period of prolonged vacancy, it can be demonstrated those tests have been met, then yes, it would be appropriate to consider an alternative to secure the future of the building.

“But, in our view, that’s not where they are at present.”

The plans for the conversion of the hotel include the reinstatement of existing windows as well as the installation of glazed balconies to the rear of the building which would give the luxury homes spectacular views of the Forth bridges.

The Press previously reported that a bid by locals to buy the hotel was set to move forward after the application was denied with the hopes that the listed building could continue to be used as a community facility.

However, hopes of this were dashed, according to the North Queensferry Community Trust, who accused the owners of the Albert Hotel of asking for an unrealistic price for the property.

The appeal has now been allocated to a Scottish Government reporter and an initial response is due within days.