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Changes afoot at Aberdeen and Banchory hotels while Queen’s Balmoral gift shop gets revamp

The controversial retrospective application for an outdoor area at the Banchory Lodge Hotel features in our latest Planning Ahead round-up.

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

This time our weekly Monday morning feature covers various changes in the hospitality industry as the sector attempts to adapt to recent hardships, and some news about a new plastic surgery clinic coming to Aberdeen.

Cults mansion used by BP for decades to become family home

Oil giant BP put its grand old Greenridge mansion house, in Cults, on the market for £1.6 million in 2017.

It had been part of BP’s business for more than 40 years, with the company initially using it as a private home for senior management and later for conferences.

Who would live in a house like this ornate former BP building….

Aberdeen City Council has now approved plans to transform the Craigton Road property into a family home.

The Category B listed building, looking out over the Dee Valley and set among more than four acres of award-winning gardens, is sure to make a dream home for its new occupants.

The mansion will soon be brought back to life as a family home.
There’s plenty space in the property once owned by the oil giant
Images released at the time the property went on sale offer a view inside.

Queen’s Balmoral gift shop to be spruced up

Keeping up appearances is pretty important if you’re royalty, and the Balmoral gift shop is now in line for some internal alterations to keep it looking its best.

The store on the grounds of Balmoral Estate has been popular with fans of the royals and Deeside tourists for decades.

Our picture shows the inside of the gift shop at Balmoral

It was converted from old stables in 1977, and made an A-listed building in 2010.

Merchandise available from the shop includes crown-shaped brooches and cuddly corgis.

Proposals lodged by Crathie-based Moxon Architects seek permission from Aberdeenshire Council to carry out work to make sure it continues to be fit for a Queen.

Historic lodge poised for transformation

This building could soon be a new family home.

Aberdeen’s Norwood Hall Hotel is one hospitality venue that is looking at ways to make changes.

The owners of the plush resort on Garthdee Road want to transform West Lodge, a former guesthouse at the entrance to the estate,  into a family home.

The 19th century building was previously a coach house, stables and kennels before being used as a guesthouse.

The lodge at Norwood Hall Hotel.

Blueprints lodged with the council detail how it could be converted into a family home with a garage and “large open plan living area”.

Added luxury at Aberdeen’s Chester Hotel….

Changes are being proposed for the Chester Hotel

In response to an “understandable downward shift” in business travellers since the pandemic struck, the Chester Hotel is going for a new “quality over quantity” approach.

Plans have been put forward to transform 10 rooms into five suites, with a former guest lounge at the Queen’s Road institution also becoming a suite.

Guests at the Chester are frequently keen to stay in suites.

General manager Stephen Gow says people travelling for leisure purposes since the easing of lockdown have increasingly fancied splashing out on the “most luxurious rooms”.

Banchory Lodge Hotel shelter sparks controversy

Last spring, bosses at Banchory Lodge Hotel built an outdoors shelter to help welcome back customers when Covid restrictions eased.

One problem though – they never asked Aberdeenshire Council for the go-ahead.

The outdoor kitchen on a sunny day in July. Picture by Kath Flannery.

The local authority’s enforcement team contacted management this summer, looking for answers.

Bosses replied explaining that the shelter was needed “to provide our alfresco chefs with some respite from our Scottish weather elements”.

Local John Shanks said it was “really disappointing” the hotel had not followed the correct procedures in his letter of objection.

The Banchory Lodge Hotel shelter proved a hit with patrons.

And Banchory Community Council accused the venue of “blatant disregard for the planning system”.

However, the council has now granted an application for the shelter to remain in place until February 2023.

If the hotel wants to keep it up beyond then, permission will have to be sought in advance.

Former west end hotel to become homes

Sadly, some of the north-east’s hotels failed to make it out of the pandemic.

The Mariner, on Aberdeen’s Great Western Road, announced last September that it wouldn’t be reopening when lockdown rules lifted.

The Mariner Hotel hasn’t been open since the doors were slammed shut last March.

Owners Mike and Sharon Edwards later formed plans to turn it into a complex of nine flats and three houses.

Now council officers have rubber-stamped the revamp.

The main building will become a mix of one and two-bedroom flats

Housing plans unveiled for site of ‘landmark’ Aberdeen hotel

These concept images offer a possible glimpse into the future of the Springfield Road site.

Malcolm Allan Housebuilders has revealed its plans for 89 homes to be built on land once occupied by the Hilton Treetops hotel in the west end of Aberdeen.

You can read our full report on the plans here.

Plans ‘could mean kitchen staff are at risk while crossing road with plates of food’

On Tuesday, November 2, the Marr area committee will decide on plans to turn a former Alford emporium into a new multi-purpose community facility.

Morrison Campbell Estates wants to change the use of the former Bridge of Alford Stores and Post Office buildings.

The store was built and run by the Sheriff family for several generations up to the 1960s but has lain derelict for many years.

James Sheriff’s Bridge Of Alford Stores And Post Office building pictured last year.

It is also proposed that the centre would be used as function space by the adjacent Forbes Arms Hotel.

With no kitchen on site, Donside Community Council says that would mean hotel staff are at “potential risk” while crossing the road armed with grub.

Councillors will decide if the application should be thrown out on safety grounds…

Fancy living in former cab control room?

The office of the Grampian Taxis firm at 105B High Street in Fraserburgh is being turned into a two-apartment property.

Plans approved by Aberdeenshire Council detail how the former office will become a living room/kitchen while the store will be turned into a bedroom.

Face-lift for Aberdeen office….

The granite villa at 16 Carden Place, formerly used as an office for the Johnston Carmichael accountants, will become a plastic surgery clinic.

It was put on the market for £600,000 after the firm moved out.

Leah Athanassopoulos, pictured last year. Submitted by Pauline Fraser.

Counsellor and psychotherapist Leah Athanassopoulos, who is from the USA but has lived in Scotland for nearly 20 years, has now had her revamp plans approved by the council.

Use our links below to see each planning application:

Greenridge mansion here.

Balmoral Gift Shop here.

Norwood Hall Hotel here.

Chester Hotel here.

Banchory Lodge Hotel here.

Mariner Hotel here.

Treetops Hotel housing scheme here.

Alford store here.

Fraserburgh cab office here.

Plastic surgery here.

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

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