Hamilton’s loss is Lanark’s gain

The now shabby exterior of The Royal Oak,once Lanark's principal railway hotels
The now shabby exterior of The Royal Oak,once Lanark's principal railway hotels

The cancellation of a town centre improvement plan for Hamilton has led to its £176,000 budget being added to the £225,000 already earmarked to redevelop Lanark’s eyesore former Royal Oak Hotel.

South Lanarkshire Council has dropped its plans for a renovation of the former Poundstretcher branch in Brandon Street and has added the cash to the Lanark project, raising hopes among local conservationists that the council can now afford to rescue the hotel building’s once handsome Victorian exterior while gutting the internal structure to create new flats and commercial properties. The Gazette understands that the building was in an even poorer state than at first assumed.

The government’s Historic Scotland agency is understood to have objected to total demolition following local pressure.

The town’s SNP councillor Julia Marrs said this week: “While it’s disappointing for Hamilton that one of their projects won’t now go ahead, I’m very pleased that Lanark has benefited.

“The Royal Oak, remembered fondly by Lanarkians, has been sadly neglected and become an eyesore. I, and I’m sure many in Lanark, look forward this prime site being given a new lease of life.

“I’m also very pleased to hear updates for Hunters Close, Lanark and Rainforest Cafe/cinema in Forth, projects which previously received £180,000 and £55,000 town centre regeneration monies respectively and are expected to be complete this year.”