Is Lanark eyesore hotel really worth almost £250,000?

The  Royal Oak Hotel in Lanark.
The Royal Oak Hotel in Lanark.

The asking price for Lanark’s derelict Royal Oak Hotel has been revealed to be almost £250,000.

As previously reported by the Gazette, Lanark Community Development Trust is trying to engineer a public buyout of the eyesore building, closed to guests a decade ago.

The trust hopes to finally get under way long-awaited plans to give the Bannatyne Street hotel a facelift and convert it into flats.

It also has hopes of using the same Scottish Government community purchase scheme to acquire the former Vogue bingo club across the road and possibly return it to its original use as a cinema.

Last month, Lanark Community Council chairman Frank Gunning revealed that the asking price would be too much for the trust to afford but didn’t reveal the exact figure being quoted.

He has now given out that information, however, telling the council’s latest meeting that one of its two owners had put a price-tag of £240,000 on the 150-year-old building, the first sight most visitors to the royal burgh see as they arrive at the town’s railway station.

That vaulation is too high to allow the purchase of the shabby but still-iconic town centre building to go ahead, he said.

However, new Scottish Government legislation might yet come to the rescue of the trust’s plan.

To help with community buyouts of derelict properties, the government is about to force owners to accept prices set by an independent valuer.

It will be able to give the trust a grant to employ such a valuer under its 2015 Community Empowerment Act.

A warning has been issued by Mr Gunning, though, that the transaction might be complicated by the fact that the probable asking price for the Royal Oak he’d been given was only from one of the building’s two current owners and they no longer seem to be communicating with each other, he added.

The meeting was also given updated news on another prominent town building, the stone auction ring of the former Lanark Market in Hyndford Road.

That building has also lain vacant for several years, since the market moved to its new location on the fringes of the town, near Lanark Racecourse.

Council members heard that tenders are being invited for upgrading the building’s stonework by the holding company acting for Tony Macaroni, the Italian restuarant chain planning to convert it into its latest branch at a cost of £2m.