A library, offices and a family resource centre could be built in the grounds of a former school as part of plans to create a “civic hub” in Ellon.
Aberdeenshire Council has lodged plans for a new office and community facility on the site of Ellon Academy’s “old” building.
The annexe to the school, opposite the police station, and was demolished in 2017 and has lain empty since. The “new” building, which was also home to the community centre and swimming pool, was knocked down in 2016, with pupils relocated to a modern community campus at Cromleybank.
Last year, members of the Formartine area committee approved a masterplan for Ellon which includes housing, a health centre and office and community facilities on the grounds of the former school.
Taking inspiration from the old school
The proposals and design statement will now be considered by the local authority’s own planning team.
Inspired by the original Ellon Academy building and its “strong” civic presence, the new building would be a mix of grey and silver brick and timber.
It is hoped to achieve net zero carbon in operation and there will also be the opportunity for public art as part of the development.
The two-storey building would serve as a new office for Aberdeenshire Council, accommodating 163 staff in total which would allow for flexible working.
A new family resource centre is also included in the project, as well as a new library and customer service point.
The ground floor would contain the public parts of the building, with the main entrance on the south-east corner. The library and service point will be based in a large open space, and there would also be bookable ceremony space.
The family resource centre would provide support to children and their families, with a focus on giving children the best possible start in life. This would allow Children’s Services to work with larger groups of children, parents and carers.
It is planned that the new library would have flexible spaces to allow for a wider range of events and group activities, benefitting from access to the service point and registrar services to support family history research and other functions.
Meanwhile, Aberdeenshire Council committee meetings would take place upstairs in a room that would also be bookable by building users and the wider community when not in use.
The office spaces would also be located upstairs.
The ‘civic hub’
Formartine area manager Elaine Brown said: “This project represents the ‘civic hub’ of the Ellon masterplan and follows the council’s town centre first principles by ensure the council retains a central presence within Ellon.
“The development would allow us to release a number of leased council buildings and free them up for other uses, such as retail. The building would also benefit from being close to other public services such as Police Scotland and Grampian Fire and Rescue Service.
“The planning process must now be followed before a final decision is made but we hope these plans give the local community a clear indication of what we’re trying to achieve.”
The application can be found here, and comments on the proposals can be submitted by Thursday July 8.