Perth and Kinross Council has offered its support to Pitlochry Hydro staff after the hotel announced it was closing its doors for good.

Staff at Pitlochry Hydro have been given 28 days to vacate their accommodation after the collapse of Specialist Leisure Groups (SLG).

The closure of the substantial Victorian hotel which has been welcoming guests for the past 130 years, has been described by local councillors as a “devastating blow” to the town.

The 73-room hotel’s closure was announced after SLG was plunged into administration over the weekend as a result of COVID-19.

SLG owned several travel brands including Caledonian Travel, Shearings Holidays, National Holidays, Wallace Arnold Travel and Bay Hotels.

A spokesperson for Perth and Kinross Council said: “We would like to reassure staff that we will offer housing support to anyone who loses their tied accommodation as a result of the hotel closure.

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“We have been informed that the administrator has advised staff they may stay in their accommodation until mid-June with food provided, free of charge, to give them the opportunity to find alternative housing.

“However, if any of the staff living in the tied accommodation face homelessness after this period, our housing options and support team will ensure that alternative accommodation is made available.

"We will work closely with PKAVS to ensure this is communicated effectively to the individuals

“We have arranged for officers to contact the Hydro today (Monday, May 25) to provide housing advice and assistance to the staff, and to find out how many staff may require alternative accommodation.

"We will also offer any other housing, employability, welfare rights support that is needed by the staff at this difficult time for them.” 

Independent councillor Xander McDade, who represents the Highland Perthshire ward, said the closure was “devastating for the staff of Pitlochry Hydro and their families and is a huge blow to the town”.

He added: “A number of local businesses also stepped forward and offered staff support, which shows how supportive a community Pitlochry is.”

Local SNP councillor Mike Williamson said staff have until June 18 to vacate their accommodation.

He told the PA his concern was if the “trickle becomes a flood” with live-in staff at numerous hotels across the area potentially needing re-housed if more hotels close their doors.

Fellow Highland Perthshire councillor John Duff said: “The closure of the Pitlochry Hydro Hotel is a devastating blow for Pitlochry and Highland Perthshire and will be very distressing news for the 34 members of staff employed there.

“Pitlochry’s future is very dependent on a strong tourist economy and there is a need for the Scottish Government to recognise the impact of COVID-19 on the tourism industry in particular and put measures in place to support it through this damaging period.”

SLG chief executive Richard Calvert said in a statement over the weekend: “This is a terribly sad day for employees, customers and commercial partners of the Specialist Leisure Group and its subsidiaries which have entered into administration.

“The effects of COVID-19 on our 117-year-old company and the wider travel industry have been devastating.

“In the most trying of circumstances, over these past few months, we have fought tooth and nail to save the group and the jobs of our 2400 loyal employees serving over 1.1 million customers annually.”