[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Tuesday, 11 October 2005, 12:52 GMT 13:52 UK
'Wreckers ball' at Dunbar hotel
Bellevue Hotel - photo from Scottish Civic Trust
Retirement homes will be built on the site of the hotel
One of the worst eyesores on the east coast of Scotland is to be demolished after more than a decade of arguments about its future.

The Bellevue hotel is a cliff-top ruin at Dunbar in East Lothian, which was wrecked by a major fire in 1989.

Council planners said they were unable to find a solution which would have saved the building.

But campaigners for the preservation of historic buildings said it was a prime example of a lost opportunity.

The hotel was opened in the late 1890s. With sumptuous state rooms, more than 50 guest rooms and views out over the North Sea, it was considered to be one of the more luxurious in the area.

Nobody's been able to come up with anything to actually restore this building
Norman Hampshire
East Lothian Council

But with only seven bathrooms, the century-old building may have struggled to contend with modern expectations.

The number of bathrooms was said to represent the days of the week. It was also given 365 windows to reflect the days in the year, 52 bedrooms for the weeks in the year, 12 public rooms for the months of the year, and four floors for the seasons.

A complex of retirement homes is to be built on the site between the Edinburgh to Newcastle rail line and the main road into Dunbar.

East Lothian Council's planning committee chairman Norman Hampshire said including it within a redevelopment had proved too expensive.

"There is a lot of concern about losing historic buildings within Dunbar so the planners have been very reluctant to give the go ahead for demolition," he said.

"But nobody's been able to come up with anything to actually restore this building.

Scotland's heritage

"It's such a prominent site and millions have been invested in restoring Dunbar and this building is giving a bad impression on what the town is about."

But conservation officials said more needed to be done to save Scotland's heritage.

Jane Nelson, from Scottish Civic Trust, said more than 1,000 properties were at risk throughout the country.

"These are listed buildings which range from small listed crofts up in Shetland right down to the castles and mansions of Ayrshire and the Borders.

"At present my fear is that we don't appear to have a national strategy."

See how the hotel has changed since its heyday

Oldest theatre rescue bid shunned
22 Jul 05 |  Scotland
Nightclub building beyond repair
28 Dec 04 |  Scotland
13 buildings off 'At Risk' list
30 Jun 04 |  Northamptonshire

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific