A DOLLAR pub, which has lain vacant for more than a decade, is to be turned into housing after receiving the green light from the local authority.

The former Dollar Arms, under 54 Bridge Street, can now be turned into housing by owners, after Clackmannanshire Council's planning department gave permission on August 16.

In their latest application, owners of the category C listed two-storey building, which sports a Georgian façade, argued that its use as a public house is not economically viable, following some 13 years of dormancy.

A planning statement said: “The cost for repair and maintenance of the building to bring it to modern use for that purpose, the cost to run such a new business in a severely constrained hospitality sector; the threat to other similarly lurching hospitality businesses competing with their fragile operations makes public house use not reasonable.”

This was the second application to turn the building into housing and Dollar Community Council had opposed the previous, withdrawn application.

The community council argued that Dollar needs to maintain as many commercial uses as possible, something supported by the Local Development Plan which seeks to retain commercial uses at ground floor in town centres – unless criteria are met.

Council documents summarising the objection added: “Dollar has lost several pubs in recent years and the current provision are essentially restaurants and do not provide the same ambience as a pub.”

Planning officers said in their report: “Assessment of previous applications to change the use of other public houses in Dollar was made on a case by case basis, and in accordance with the relevant policy provisions of the development plan in place at that time.

“The council as planning authority has no control over how existing licenced premises may adapt [their] business model, to ensure a premises with 'pub ambiance' is retained.

“Refusing this application would provide no guarantee that the premises would re-open as a pub any time in the future, and assessment against policy and material considerations has been undertaken in this case.

“One such material consideration is the length of time that the premises have lain vacant.”

Reinstating the Dollar Arms as a pub could also bring unfavourable changes for neighbours, owners argued, with odours, crowds, noises and late night activities.

Indeed, one letter of support from a neighbour for the previous, withdrawn application was highlighted by owners in their supporting statement.

It said: “The neighbours indicate the reality of the situation – the site offers limited scope for parking, limited scope for outdoor seating in these Covid-times.

“The point made about limitations for re-use of the building by other businesses due to lack of parking is relevant.”

The council did not support the building's conversion to housing when the pub closed in 2007, but “it is clear that planning process cannot prevent the closure of businesses faced with challenging market conditions, nor is it likely in this case, that refusal of the application is likely to lead to the re-opening of the premises as a public house”.

For the full statements and policy assessment, visit bit.ly/3DkvQ2o.