Seaforth sparks outburst

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There have been angry reactions on social media over the last week from Arbroath residents concerned by plans for the former Seaforth site.

The Herald last week revealed that local businessman Valy Ossman had approached Angus Council on behalf of site owners Seaforth Investments Ltd. to petition the authority to rezone the land from commercial use to residential.

This change of use has prompted calls from the public for a rethink on the proposals, with housing not deemed the best option for the site which has lain in disuse since the old Seaforth Hotel burned down in 2006 and was subsequently demolished.

Steven L.L. Smith, director of Seaforth Investments Ltd., and Mr Ossman have been in correspondence regarding the future of the site which sits as an eyesore at the town’s gateway.

According to Mr Smith housing would be their preference. He said: “We believe very strongly that the only financially feasible use for the site is for a flatted residential development.

“It is a great pity that this important site lies vacant and derelict, but in all the circumstances we have no option but to leave it in our land bank for the next 15/20 years, in the hope that we can eventually be granted residential planning consent.”

Social media has been abuzz this last week after it was revealed that Angus Council had been contacted with a proposal for the old Seaforth.

As soon as our article on the plans for the Seaforth went online objectors took to Facebook to voice their concerns.

Many of the comments called for a return to a hotel on the site and questioned the need and suitability of flatted residences at Arbroath’s seafront.

Tracy Foreman wrote: “Why can’t the owners build a high end hotel and run it themselves, I’m sure they would make more money that way. Have a decent restaurant and casino in it and they’d make a fortune.”

Tim Forrester added: “No to flats! It’s the same old story after the mystery fire. It’s a perfect site for a hotel and restaurant with a function suite.”

Craig Mackay commented: “Can’t the council take the site off this individual? In the interest of the people of Arbroath?”

Aille Nakavulevu said: “Definitely back to a hotel. I worked at the Seaforth for five years. And it’s got a place in my heart, would love to see another hotel here, decent function suite for weddings etc. Hope it’s a no to flats and yes to another hotel!”

Ruth Dickinson wrote: “It’s a shame that the developers can only come up with flats as an option! Poor Arbroath is dying on its feet! Please can someone for once have the best interests of Arbroath at its heart and not the money to line their own pockets with! Put back not take out!”

Alex Batchelor commented: “It’s all commercial units about it, plus facing onto a main road so wouldn’t be safe as residential.”

Janey Smith added: “Looks like the folk of Arbroath have spoken, no residential units, we need a hotel.”

The Seaforth was built in the 1820s and had operated as a hotel since 1934 and its two function suites were a popular party venue for many clubs and organisations over many years.

You can read all of the comments on our Facebook page now: facebook.com/Arbroath.Herald.