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Plans revealed to transform Greyfriars Kirk into up-market restaurant

Aberdeen City Council headquarters
Aberdeen City Council headquarters

Plans to transform an iconic city centre church into an “up market bar and restaurant” have been unveiled.

Hospitality giant G1 has submitted a planning application for the “sympathetic” conversion of the disused Greyfriars Kirk on Broad Street.

And, if the plans are approved, the exterior of the A-listed building would get a much-needed clean to match the facade of next-door Marischal College.

The designs have been drawn up by Aberdeen-based TCD Architects, who were behind the project to turn Beechgrove Church into flats.

The scheme involves a “substantial refurbishment inside and out” – including removing the balcony, demolishing the vestry and creating an additional floor in the nave.

Glass flooring to part of the new level would be used to “emphasise the full height of the void above the nave”.

Ornate wooden panels from the structure would be rescued and used to decorate other parts of the venue.

The plans state that the stone altar will be “retained in its full and former glory” – potentially as the centrepiece of a private dining area – while the timber choir stalls, wall panelling and pulpit will also remain. The stained glass will be repaired.

In the only significant exterior change, a later extension that does not meet modern building regulations would be replaced.

Greyfriars, which was built in 1903, has lain unused since the Church of Scotland merged its congregation with that of Queen Street in 2004.

A scheme to turn it into the headquarters of an oil company were abandoned in 2013 after the project hit planning delays.

G1 specialises in buying disused architectural gems to turn into leisure venues and also owns the nearby Illicit Still and the Palm Court Hotel.

Aberdeen City Council planners hope the new venue will be a central feature of the planned transformation of Broad Street into a car-free public square – along with the new Marischal Square development.

Finance convener Willie Young said it should encourage more firms to invest in the area.

“It has been unused for so long and it needs to come back into use, that’s the most important thing,” he said.

“It is further regeneration of the area and that can only be a good thing for the city.”

TCD architect Steven Lawrence said the firm was “excited to be involved in such an exciting project”.

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