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Aberdeen sports shop saga and uncertain future of former Stonehaven council offices

Our latest Planning Ahead round-up

Here we have a look at the latest planning news from Aberdeen City and Aberdeenshire councils. 

This week our regular Monday morning feature covers the return of Aberdeen Christmas Village and plans to breathe new life into long-empty former shops in Huntly and Turriff.

Row over brightness of signs at Aberdeen Sports Direct

This proposed design for the new Aberdeen Sports Direct at Berryden failed to impress planning chiefs.

Council planning bosses have dimmed the hopes of Sports Direct when it comes to their new store at Berryden retail park.

The chain is seeking permission for some snazzy LED strip lighting at the front of the former Argos.

The chain moved in recently.

But the local authority has put its foot down, rejecting much of the application on the grounds that the lighting would “have an unacceptable impact on visual amenity”.

Sports Direct, which argued that nearby Next had similar signage, will be allowed to keep the more modest elements.

Another view of how the shop owners would like it to look.

New shop moving in at old Sports Direct

The Mike Ashley-owned chain flitted from the nearby Kittybrewster retail park to take on the new Berryden branch this summer.

In some good news for Kittybrewster sportswear fans who have been missing a local outlet, JD Sports has confirmed plans to move into the vacant space.

The empty unit is located between DFS and Dreams.

Property firm Montagu Evans said the proposals for the site would “contribute to the vitality and viability of the retail park”, with only some small modifications needed to the space.

Blueprints show how the new JD Sports is envisaged to look.

New food outlet on Clifton Road

Meanwhile, plans to convert another empty unit just yards away are in the works.

The plans concern the second unit along, next to the Gurkha Curry House.

Take-away operators Ocean Food Ltd want permission to use the former City Mobility premises in the shopping centre at the foot of Clifton Road.

The space has been empty since the start of 2018, and developers say there is a “lack of demand for retail space in the area”.

Driving range plans sent into the rough

Craibstone Golf Course, pictured last year by Darrell Benns.

Craibstone Golf Course teed up proposals for a driving range at the Bucksburn greens last summer.

They said players have an “increasing expectation” that there should be an area “to intensively practice form”, or “simply de-stress by launching balls down-range”.

But the council has now ruled it out due to the potential loss of woodland involved.

Best foot forward for Turriff town centre

A former charity shop in the heart of Turriff will be transformed into a podiatry business.

The unit was the home of the North-East Scotland Support for Romania appeal.

Plans to turn the former shop into a podiatry business have been given the green light

Volunteers loaded their last lorry of supplies for poverty-stricken families in December, and the building has since been empty.

Podiatrist Jane Bonner has now been given the go-ahead to turn it into a podiatry business, bringing another trader into the Square.

Return of festive fun

Aberdeen Christmas Village will return this winter, running from November 18 to Hogmanay.

The Aberdeen Christmas Village will be back next month.

The plans were approved this week and you can explore the layout ahead of time with our interactive map here!

An ambitious undertaking…..

The premises on the corner of King Street and Mealmarket Street has been empty for a while.

A former funeral parlour is to be converted into a restaurant on King Street in Aberdeen.

The Category C listed building, at the corner with Mealmarket Street, is 200 years old and was previously home to the St Machar funeral directors.

Clean-up efforts will be required ahead of the revamp.

The council recently approved the plans despite the protests of the owners and occupiers of flats upstairs.

Slide back and forth horizontally on our graphic to see how the layout will change – 

Huntly shop to be transformed into new home

The former VG Superstore on King Street could soon become a new home if owner Eric Dawson’s aims are given the go-ahead.

Blueprints lodged with Aberdeenshire reveal plans to alter parts of the old shop to make room for a drive and garden, with the former store at the back becoming a kitchen.

A previous application to “substantially” demolish the building attracted concerns from the Huntly and District Swift Group – who had recorded a family of the birds nesting there since 2017.

Stonehaven flat plans up in the air

Finally, councillors have been stymied by the question of whether a proposed block of 16 flats in Stonehaven is too close to a primary school.

Locals are fighting plans to convert Carlton House into 16 flats. Picture by Kath Flannery

Carlton House, on Arduthie Road, was built at the start of the 1900s as a private residence.

The grand Edwardian villa next door to Arduthie Primary was latterly used as offices for the council’s social work department.

Housing chiefs say it makes “perfect sense” to turn the complex into flats “as offices become redundant due to home working.”

But parents are fighting the plans, fearing a “loss of privacy” and “traffic chaos” outside the school.

Councillors are yet to render a decision on the matter. Picture by Kath Flannery

Members of the Kincardine and Mearns area committee debated the matter extensively during a recent meeting.

They ultimately agreed to visit the site before reaching any decision.

Use our links below to see each planning application: 

Sports Direct signs here.

JD Sports coming to Kittybrewster here and here.

Clifton Road take-away here.

Craibstone driving range here.

Turriff podiatry plans here.

Aberdeen Christmas Village here

New lease of life for funeral parlour here.

Huntly shop to become home here and here.

Carlton House here.

Check back every Monday morning for the latest round-up! 

Spotted any plans you think we should know about? Get in touch at