North Queensferry residents in favour of the community bid to buy back the Albert Hotel rallied again last weekend.

Residents got together for a small beach clean and beach art session, organised by Ali Judd, where they spelled out #SAVE THE ALBERT! to raise awareness on the planned community bid for the historic hotel.

It comes after a meeting was held earlier in the month to discuss the plans for the community to buy back the near 200-year-old building.

The Save the Albert campaign, which is run by the Albert Community Group in conjunction with the North Queensferry Community Trust, is being led by Alastair Ritchie.

Dunfermline Press: The current owner of the Albert Hotel has his own plans to reopen the building as a hotel, restaurant and bar.The current owner of the Albert Hotel has his own plans to reopen the building as a hotel, restaurant and bar. (Image: NQ Staff)

He told the Press: "We had a tremendous public meeting with more than 120 people attending. There was an extremely positive vibe in the room towards supporting the campaign and we feel greatly encouraged but we need evidence of community support.

"To gather evidence of community support, we are doing a postal ballot of all the people on the electoral register in North Queensferry."

The ballot asks those who are eligible to vote whether they support the North Queensferry Community Trust's plan to nominate the Albert Community Group Ltd to purchase and restore the hotel and turn it into a "sustainable development" for the community.

READ MORE: Albert Hotel community buy-out bid by villagers

North Queensferry Community Trust and The Albert Community Group's case for a community buy-out lies in what they believe is the importance of 'The Albert' to the sustainability of the community.

They feel that running it as not just a pub, but as a hub for the community, would benefit the local economy.

Alastair continued: "The hotel has been sitting empty, unloved and unused since 2017.

"The owners have tried to get permission to convert it into flats but that was been rejected. I think that the owners don't quite know what to do with the building, so it's a question of us trying to persuade them to agree with an independent valuation so that we can agree a price for us to purchase it from them.

"The compulsory element of what is called a Part 5 community Right to Buy is the end of a long process and we would hope to not to go down that route. We would hope the owners understand the community support for the community buy-out and come to the table to negotiate."

Kenny Waugh, the current owner, recently revealed his own plans to seek planning permission to re-open the Albert as a bar, restaurant and hotel.

He told the Press: "As far as we're concerned, we've got a planning application, which involves moving the bar into the basement, so we're continuing with that.

"They say the Albert is in poor condition but we're continuously spending money on maintenance and we have the budget to go ahead with our £400,000 refurb as soon as we get planning permission.

"The reason we're doing this is, they're right, because we have been refused permission to turn it into flats. So on that basis we're going with plans for the pub in the basement, with rooms up above."

READ MORE: Owner reveals plans to reopen the historic Albert Hotel

Kenny added that he is open to leasing the pub to the community after work is done so they can run the bar if that's what they want, and he is even open to selling the building, but has yet to receive any offers.

He continued: "I've been speaking to the community council about this property for about five years, I've let them in loads of times to do their surveys, I've had a valuation, I've told them my valuation and they've never made me an offer.

"They say they want to get an independent valuation; well, I’ve got a valuation, and if they want to get a valuation, then make me an offer."

Kenny went on: "We've invested a lot of money in that property over the last 15 years, we made all the rooms ensuite, we spent a lot of money on the Albert. It didn't work as a bar when we leased it out, but we're prepared to put more money into it and try again.

"However, if they want to make me an offer then by all means, make me an offer.

"I was hoping the community council would support our planning application rather than oppose it."

Ballot papers have been sent out to those who are on the electoral register for North Queensferry and are due to be returned by Wednesday, May 3.