Food worshipers in the north-east could soon be rejoicing the opening of a new eatery if plans to turn a historic church into a restaurant are given the go-ahead.
St John The Baptist Episcopal Church, in Portsoy, has sat empty since it closed due to a dwindling congregation number in July 2016.
Now, though, there’s renewed hope that the mid-19th century Anglican church, on the corner of Hill Street and Seafield Terrace, could be converted into a 44-seater restaurant.
The Category-B listed building was put on the market for offers over £45,000 in 2016 and snapped up by an Aberdeen businessman who then attempted to turn the former place of worship into a family home.
Those plans fell flat, despite being approved by Aberdeenshire Council’s planning department, and the huge building has remained silent and empty since.
But it could soon ring out with the sounds of a happy congregation, of the food-worshiping type, having come into the ownership of a Portsoy local.
The most recent plans for the 436 square metre site, have been submitted by Banff architecture firm Mantell Ritchie on behalf of local businessman David Urquhart to Aberdeenshire Council planners.
The drawings suggest the church could be extended on its north-west side with a single-storey, grey cement-clad extension to house a new kitchen area. A new toilet block is also being proposed to the rear of that.
The large church’s main interior layout would remain mostly unchanged, but feature a dining area, waiting area, reception and a new entrance while some of the iconic old windows would be replaced and painted white.
Mr Urquhart also hopes to erect a fence around the building, and alter the access into the building, constructed using granite and whinstone rubble and yellow ashlar sandstone dressings around its windows, doors and corners.
The church is approximately 13.59m x 7.32m at its widest point, and has no parking spaces associated with it.
As well as the entrance hallway and main church, there used to be a vestry and flower room, which will be turned into waiting areas and display rooms.
The church’s altar, pulpit, font, lectern, large chair and the sundry moveable items were not included in its sale, though, so are unlikely to form centre pieces.