Progress on cards at last for Lanark’s stone auction ring?

Old Lanark Market auction ring at  Braidfute Retail Park.
Old Lanark Market auction ring at Braidfute Retail Park.

After years of delays, Lanark’s landmark former stone market auction ring could soon be converted into a restaurant.

Last week, a planning application was made to South Lanarkshire Council to carry out extensive repairs to the 150-year-old building, now standing semi-derelict in the Braidfute Retail Park a decade after Lanark Market operations moved from the site to the agricultural centre opposite the former town racecourse.

The old stone auction ring this year.

The old stone auction ring this year.

Over the years, there have been several proposals for re-using the iconic hexagonal building at the entrance to the town centre, but none came to fruition.

A plan that it serve as a base for Lanark’s Air Training Corps unit was only one of many that came to nothing.

Hopes were raised seven years ago when the Glasgow-based Italian restuarant chain Tony Macaroni was granted planning permission to turn the building into a family restaurant with a bar area, takeaway section and children’s play area at a reported cost of over £2m.

However, lack of progress since has led many to speculate that the restaurant chain had lost interest in the project.

Over the past two years, Tony Macaroni has failed to respond to any of the Gazette’s requests for information.

The site’s owners, County Properties, of Edinburgh, a decade ago told the Gazette that it would never answer any query from this newspaper.

There have been growing complaints, especially from Lanark Community Council members, about the deteriorating state of the building, so distinctive that it was emulated in the design of the new agricultural centre,

In this week’s list of fresh planning applications to South Lanarkshire Council is one from a company known to be associated to Tony Macaroni’s for extensive repairs to the roof of the building, leading to hopes that this is preparatory work for the full-blown restaurant development to take place.

The application is accompanied by a request for listed building consent to carry out works on the historic structure.