Housing proposal for old Rothesay bathing station

The derelict bathing station at the West Bay in Rothesay could be converted into new seafront homes.
The derelict bathing station at the West Bay in Rothesay could be converted into new seafront homes.

NEW plans to revitalise one of Rothesay’s longest-lived eyesores are set to be published this summer.

Proposals for the redevelopment of the West Bay bathing station, opposite the Skeoch Wood, are likely to be unveiled in the next few months by the man who has owned the site for the last 17 years.

Ron MacDonald’s plans have attracted the attention of the makers of the Channel 4 series Restoration Man, who visited the site this week to find out if it might be suitable to appear in a future edition of the show.

“I bought the site 17 years ago for a hotel and marina,” Mr MacDonald told The Buteman.

“I’d heard Argyll and the Islands Enterprise was looking for a developer to put a hotel on the site, and I bought it on the understanding that AIE would put £2 million into the development.

“We got planning permission, and we had funding arranged with the NatWest bank, and then one day I got a letter from AIE saying they were withdrawing their support for the project.

“But I’d always had the idea in the back of my head that I might turn the site into a house, and I’ve now got architects working on plans which will be submitted in the next two or three months.

“Planning officials are now saying to us that they’re looking at this project as an enabling development, using the profits from sale of the new build houses to allow the old building to be restored.”

Mr MacDonald’s plans would see the southern end of the site – immediately next to the Isle of Bute Sailing Club premises – given over to one of the new properties, and the other two sited at the northern end.

The bathing station itself would be converted into two properties, one having two bedrooms and one having three, with the latter occupied by the MacDonald family – Ron, his wife Rose and their sons Struan and Ruairidh.

Three previous applications for the total or partial demolition of the bathing station, and the erection of new houses in its place, were submitted and then withdrawn in 2010 due to concerns over the impact any new development might have on the Rothesay conservation area.