Pennan is perhaps best known as the home of the exciting Local Hero community.
But the reality facing the handful of villagers who remain there today couldn’t be more different from the famous film.
They say the vast majority of its quaint cottages have been snapped up by AirBnB operators, leaving it little more than a “living museum”.
Pennan and its famous red telephone box featured in the 1983 film Local Hero. Image: Jason Hedges/DC Thomson
The dire situation came up during a council meeting this week on how best to preserve its character.
Other residents say the proposed rule changes could make a bad situation even worse…
By imposing new regulations on ‘conservation areas’, those who live there would have to take extra care when making their properties, to ensure they ‘preserve and enhance’ Pennan.
This would mean that installing new windows and doors would cost much more.
Fears Pennan will become ‘tourist town’
Councilor Glen Reynolds said only about a dozen full-time residents still live in Pennan, including himself.
And Mr Reynolds fears conservation rules could mean a further exodus, leaving the picturesque site “abandoned”.
He explained: “The beating heart of a community is the people who live there.
“What is happening in Pennan, which is happening in other places, is that people are moving out.
“We have AirBnB, empty properties and people who are here today and leave tomorrow… And the town ends up abandoned.
This is not a beating heart that we want.”
Councilors expressed concern that the conservation area plan could be costly for local residents. Image: Kenny/DC Thomson
One of the possible additional household expenses, he added: “Some people just won’t be able to afford it.”
Pennan’s last fishing house recently turned into AirBnB
Film buffs have flocked to the village since it starred in the 1982 Bill Forsyth comedy.
Exterior shots were shot in Pennan, including those of the film’s fictional Macaskill Arms Hotel and the village’s famous red telephone box.
But earlier this year, we reported that the community’s last fishing village was being turned into a vacation rental.
And SNP councilor Ross Cassie told the meeting that Pennan must be more than a “living museum”.
Film fans have been visiting the historic Aberdeenshire village since it featured in the film Local Hero. Image: Jason Hedges/DC Thomson
What’s next for Pennan’s plans?
After discussion, the commission unanimously agreed to extend the consultation process.
This means locals will have more time to have their say and could still see controversial rule changes.
You can watch Pennan’s discussion below:
The last surviving fishing house in Pennan is to be converted into a holiday rental
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[Pennan conservation area review extended for further consultation]