Royal welcome for pub chain?

THE local hostelry trade could be in for a shake-up following rumours that JD Wetherspoon is in talks to purchase the Royal Hotel.

The hotel closed its doors last June, leaving the prominent town centre building lying empty.

Meanwhile, Dundee-based Tayfield Investments, the owners of the Queen’s Hotel also in the town centre, have put on hold their ambitious six-figure investment plans for Troopers Bar, which was due to have been completed at the beginning of this month.

In March Steve Cumming, a director of Tayfield Investments, revealed details of the refurbishment plans which were due to begin on May 1 and would last five to six weeks.

However, the work has now been put on hold in light of speculation that JD Wetherspoon is to move to Forfar.

In April we reported the national pub-chain had earmarked a site in Brechin and were seeking to identify a similar site in Forfar as it extended its reach into rural areas.

At that time JD Wetherspoon’s spokesman, Eddie Gershon confirmed discussions “were on-going” regarding the company locating and opening premises in Brechin and Forfar.

He said: “This is a question of when not if for Wetherspoons.

“We have a real drive on to open premises in some of the more rural areas, where our approach to delivering affordable meals to customers goes down very well.”

In light of moves by Wetherspoons to move into Forfar, Steve Cumming confirmed last Friday that their plans for the Queen’s may have to change.

He said: “If JD Wetherspoon comes to Forfar and open with their business model then we might have to do a re-appraisal of our business model.

“We had specific plans and might have to change them slightly if they come in, but we will wait to see what happens before we commence.

“Basically we have put back our plans until we see what is happening in Forfar with other pubs opening up.”

When questioned about the rumours circulating about a possible purchase of the Royal Hotel last Friday, JD Wetherspoon’s spokesman, Eddie Gershon added: “We are keen to open a pub in Forfar but won’t comment on individual sites.”