South Scotland MSP Emma Harper has today called for urgent action to be taken to rectify the safety concerns over the George Hotel in Stranraer to allow for the reopening of Church Street. This would avoid a situation similar to that of the Station Hotel in Ayr which led to the closure of key streets in Ayr town centre, as well as the closure of the Stranraer-Ayr train line causing major disruption for those travelling between the towns.

Following a lack of response to Ms Harper’s letter of the 20th of May to Dumfries & Galloway Council Leadership, which laid out a number of questions the South Scotland MSP sought answered to including what the Council’s long term plan was to rectify the George Hotel, she is now taking the case to the Scottish Government by biding for a First Minister’s Question this week.

Commenting, Ms Harper said:

Church Street in Stranraer is a main part of the town’s one-way system, and my constituents have made their concerns to me clear over the disruption this closure will cause to the town centre. They are also rightly concerned, as I am, over the safety and future of the George Hotel – a key building which has been in the town for over a century. 

“After hearing concerns from constituents on the 20th of May I wrote to the Chief Executive of Dumfries and Galloway Council to ask what urgent action the Council is taking to bring this building up to a safe standard, and to reopen Church Street. I also asked what DG Council’s long-term plans are for the building. I have still not received a response to this letter.

“I am now taking this issue to the Scottish Government to see what support they may be able to offer to Dumfries and Galloway Council to allow for urgent works to be completed, particularly ahead of the SkiffieWorlds championships, to bring the George Hotel up to a safe standard so that Church Street can be reopened. 

“The Scottish Government, in 2017, allocated £1.8m for the George Hotel redevelopment – and we need to know what the spending plans will be.

“I commend the work of local Councillor Ros Surtees who has been meeting with Council officials to try to find a solution to these issues, and I will continue to work alongside her and indeed anyone else to find a solution.” 

Commenting, Cllr Ros Surtees added:

“The closure of Church Street is a disaster and I have asked that the Council treat it as an emergency. The Council must now act to put an urgent action plan in place. 

“I am grateful to officials who have met with me to discuss the closure of Church Street, and to look for a solution, and to Emma who is being proactive to find solutions.

“It is fantastic that we are seeing the SkiffieWorlds coming to Stranraer, and It is important that our town looks its best so that we can show all Stranraer has to offer.”