New proposals for historic Alford hotel

The Forbes Arms Hotel at Alford
The Forbes Arms Hotel at Alford

A once popular riverside hotel in Alford could soon be enjoying a new lease of life.

Owners of the currently closed C-listed Forbes Arms Hotel want to alter and extend the popular hostelry to bring it back into use.

Morrison Campbell Estates Ltd have lodged plans with Aberdeenshire Council of a “sensitive and appropriate nature” which they say reflects both the character of the surrounding area and the history, design and scale of the existing hotel.

Among the proposed changes are the removal of a tired 20th century glazed conservatory and entrance and replacement with a new reception area and larger, open plan dining restaurant.

A historic inner dining room will be transformed into a snug room, while the existing lounge and public bar areas will be refurbished.

In addition to modernisation of the kitchen, the plans indicate a reduction in the number of bedrooms from nine to seven to provide both larger individual guest bedrooms with separate en-suite accommodation.

A design statement from Graham Mitchell Architects says the proposals respond to a “clearly defined brief” to meet an identified need arising from the local knowledge and experience of the hotel owners.

It states: “Given the aim is to implement redevelopment as a sensitive intervention, the proposals do not significantly affect the amenity of neighbouring properties.

“It does not lead to the loss of or serious damage to any trees or soft landscaping of significant value, or to the landscape character of the surrounding area.”

As such, the architects say the proposals will “assimilate well” into the existing context and surrounding landscape.

“The current proposals seek to bring the property back into use as a hotel,” they say, “and to safeguard its future viability.”