54 year old Alistair Aitchison is probably not the most popular person to pass through Harlech. He may be the owner of an opaque Gibraltar company which owns two of the most noticeable buildings in the town after the castle — the old St David’s Hotel and the residential tower block for Coleg Harlech, the only skyscraper to be built in a National Park.
Both big buildings, next door to each other on the main A496, are derelict and very shabby.
Eight years after permission was granted to demolish the hotel, work still hasn’t started.
Parts of the roof have collapsed, windows are rotting and the site blights the town.
In 2009 the Snowdonia National Park Authority granted conditional planning permission for it to be torn down and replaced with a 130-bedroom hotel with 76 holiday apartments — but the developer did not proceed with the project.
Then in 2014 a further application was approved and despite SNPA receiving assurances from the developer work would commence on the new development, nothing of any significance has happened, except for the partial construction of a bat tower.
Local councillor Caerwyn Roberts said the bat building had to be built before demolition can start, although even that has stalled.
He continued: “It is fast becoming a source of major concern for the people in Harlech.
“The same owners also own the former Hall of Residence site, the tower block, and that is also empty.
“Between them they are holding Harlech back, we’re not happy and we find ourselves very limited in what we can do.”
Aitchison Associates may be registered in Gibraltar, but Alistair Aitchison’s address is Buckingham House, Myrtle Lane, Billingshurst, West Sussex, RH14 9SG.