A Ballater building brought back to life by the future king could be turned into the village’s first seafood restaurant.
The Duke of Rothesay led the renovation of a derelict former Co-op to help the community bounce back from horrendous flooding in late 2015.
The royally approved 19th century building on Netherley Street went on to become one of the community’s crowning attractions.
It welcomed diners as a top restaurant, schooled chefs and hosted a gift shop selling Highgrove merchandise.
But The Rothesay Rooms, run by the Prince’s Foundation, relocated to the Old Royal Station nearby in May.
That meant its former home was left unoccupied again… But perhaps not for long.
Now the owners of the nearby five star Fife Arms hotel in Braemar have formed plans to bring it back into use – as Ballater’s first seafood restaurant.
What are the building’s royal links?
In October 2016, the Duke and Duchess of Rothesay officially opened the destination.
A month earlier, the Queen had been given a glimpse inside the “pop-up” enterprise as she visited to see how Ballater was recovering from Storm Frank devastation.
More than 300 homes and 60 businesses were left in ruins after the waters rushed through the community.
The Rothesay Rooms was part of Prince Charles’s flood appeal.
And his Dumfries House charity paid for the restoration of the building.
Scroll back and forth to see the transformation the building underwent:
After five years of boosting the local economy and driving tourism, the Rothesay Rooms moved out as the building’s owner was looking to sell.
Documents lodged with Aberdeenshire Council explain the new vision for the spot, which will retain the same layout.
Who is behind the Ballater seafood restaurant plans?
Artfarm Ltd, an English hospitality and development firm run by Manuela and Iwan Wirth has lodged the blueprints.
Papers lodged with the council by Crathie-based Moxon Architects pledge to keep the “small retail offering”, while running the site as a restaurant and take-away.
They say the Ballater seafood restaurant will “complement and expand” the area’s existing dining options.
The papers state: “The restaurant provides year-round facilities for both local and tourist use, contributing to a positive experience of the area.
“The expansion of cuisine and fresh produce for Ballater supports the
vitality and economic diversity of the village.”
While the Rothesay Rooms was one way the village recovered economically from Storm Frank, residents remain haunted by the scenes of destruction.
While pleading for reinforced flood defences during the week, community leaders said locals still suffer “sleepless nights” when the River Dee starts to rise.