AN ICONIC Millport landmark is being transformed by the man at the helm of the Clutha Bar in Glasgow.

Alan Crossan has taken on the renovation of the Royal George Hotel as part of a £1.7m project to revitalise the whole area around Millport Pier.

The hotel's previous manager Margaret Kennedy – Alan's sister – has now retired and Alan's company Firthport Ltd has taken on the project.

Firthport Ltd is investing £60k in phase one of the transformation which will see the refurbishment of the restaurant and bar and – if planning permission is granted – the redevelopment of existing accommodation into nine apartments.

Alan also plans to add an extension to the hotel to accommodate a further 20 apartments, renovate the old toilet block, and create murals and an events space.

If plans for the development of the pier are approved by North Ayrshire Council, this will mark an overall investment of more than £1.7m.

Alan said: "This is definitely the right time to be doing this. Millport has a lot of potential but we cannot lose sight of the magic of the place. We want to improve rather than change and will always be sympathetic to the 'feel' of the town.

"We want to create a different kind of atmosphere on the pier and to create something new for the community."

As well as being the owner of the Clutha, Alan is founder of the Clutha Trust – a charity which enables and encourages disadvantaged young people to get involved in music and the arts.

If plans for Millport Pier are approved, he hopes to get disadvantaged young people from across North Ayrshire involved in making Millport Scotland's first 'charity island' – a hub of charity activity in Scotland.

The Royal George – named after the customs cutter that sailed out of Millport Bay to catch smuggling vessels in the Clyde – has been popular with visitors and residents for generations.

Work on the first phase is due to be completed in the spring.

Alan added: "We're hoping to have the bar, restaurant and rooms and running for the new season.

"The new-look restaurant area will have new furniture and a centrepiece of a huge table running down the centre of the room. It will have a continental feel but there will be quiet areas for people to enjoy and meal and drinks too.

"We're concentrating on good food at a good price that people will enjoy."

Alan has enlisted three local workers to progress with phase one of the transformation and is currently on the lookout for a chef. If you would like to get in touch with Alan regarding the chef opportunity email