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Dream home next to Knockhall Castle, flats above Aberdeen pub, Inverurie Farmfoods gets frosty reception and Dracula plaque at Cruden Bay

Plans to create a large new home near Knockhall Castle at Newburgh feature in this week's Planning Ahead round-up. Image from Clarke Cooper, design team, and photographer Wullie Marr.
Plans to create a large new home near Knockhall Castle at Newburgh feature in this week's Planning Ahead round-up. Image from Clarke Cooper, design team, and photographer Wullie Marr.

Join us for our regular weekly look at some of the latest planning applications lodged with Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire councils.

This week, we sink our fangs into plans for a permanent reminder of Count Dracula’s connection to Cruden Bay.

There are proposals to turn former offices in Aberdeen city centre, some left empty for more than a decade, into new homes.

And we discover that Farmfoods’ plans to create a new supermarket in Inverurie haven’t quite been welcomed with open arms…

Plans to bulldoze ‘simple’ Cults house to make way for plush new home

Firstly, plans have been formed to tear down a home in the Pitfodels area of Aberdeen and build a grand replacement. 

The building was part of the Menzies estate for 300 years, and was handed over to trustees following John Menzies’ death in 1843.

But now owners Mr and Mrs Mark Milne want to knock down 16 Westerton Road – which architects say is “relatively simple in form” and has been altered over the years.

How the new home at Cults would look if permission for the scheme is granted.

They say the new building, “of similar height and colour”, will represent little in the way of change.

But if approved, it will “take a different form” to make the most of the expansive views from its elevated position.

How the building looks from afar.

Design images reveal how the large two-storey replacement would have a roof terrace overlooking the expansive grounds.

Westerton Road resident David McKay has already written to the council in support of the development, “highly commending” the architecture.

Another image of how Mr and Mrs Milne would like their new and improved home to look.

But Sandy Alexander, of Craigievar Place, believes the building’s links to the historic Westerton of Pitfodels estate mean it should be spared the wrecking ball.

He said: “It would be a sad day if the council allow it to be demolished.”

Huntly car parts shop will become new flat

Autospares of Huntly will soon be someone’s new home.

Aberdeenshire Council has approved plans to turn Autospares of Huntly, on Duke Street, into a new flat.

Blueprints put forward by Avril Morrison show how the store will be transformed into a shower room and bedroom, with the shop becoming the sitting room, dining area and kitchen.

German Doner Kebab plans for Union Street move forward

The former Shoezone is one of many shops that closed during lockdown.

Last year, we revealed that a global fast food firm specialising in “healthy, gourmet kebabs” will take over the former Shoezone in Aberdeen city centre.

German Doner Kebab’s proposals have now progressed, with the firm unveiling the floor plans.

They show how the empty space will be transformed with stools at the window facing onto the Granite Mile, various tables and booths and a special area for Deliveroo collections.

There will be a theatre kitchen so people can watch their meals being prepared.

German Doner Kebab is hoped to boost the struggling city centre.

The chain has branches in Saudi Arabia, Toronto, New York and all over the UK.

A German Doner Kebab shop in the Shepherd’s Bush area of London.

Westhill dog walkers get behind plans to turn field into canine exercise park

Westhill resident Evelyn Ewen is seeking permission to turn former agricultural land at Bishopdams Road into a dog exercise park.

The space, which is already up and running, is rented out on an exclusive use basis to customers keen to walk their dogs, train puppies, or simply allow their pets to have a run about “with no worries about other dogs being around”.

The space has already proven popular.

Planning papers state: “Since the devastation of the storms in the last few months, customers have chosen to book the dog park instead of their usual forest walk while the forests are made safe.”

Eight people have already written to the council supporting the plans.

There are plenty of obstacles for four-legged friends to have fun scampering about.

New tattoo parlour in north-east town

Meanwhile, in Banff, a tattooist has inked a new deal to take over a former town centre bakery.

As revealed in Planning Ahead in February, Barbara Begun applied to convert the former Granny Bakes into her own shop.

This image from Google Maps shows the old Granny Bakes store on Strait Path, Banff.

Aberdeenshire Council has now given the proposal its blessing.

In a Facebook post, the independent business encouraged locals to spread the word about the new venue.

I am at the end of my journey to opening a tattoo studio in Banff. I really want to start work quickly and full of faith…

Posted by Bespoke in Banff on Tuesday, 22 March 2022

Bed and breakfast to become family home

The west end building will cease offering guest rooms.

A former Granite City hospitality venue will stop offering visitor accommodation under proposals now sealed by Aberdeen City Council.

Montana Guest House, at 302 Great Western Road, has previously doubled up as both a home and a commercial enterprise.

Now owner Sheena Brown has been granted permission to use it fully as a family residence.

Bon Accord Crescent offices will be turned into luxury flats

An office block on Bon Accord Crescent in Aberdeen will be turned into upmarket new flats.

The old office block will become seven flats.

The plans for the B-listed Archibald Simpson building, lodged in December, have now been approved by the council.

Applicants, the City Restoration Project, will turn it into six two-bedroom apartments and one three-bedroom penthouse flat, spread across four floors.

Another view along Bon Accord Crescent

How would you fancy living above Molly Malone’s?

Elsewhere in the city centre, long-abandoned offices above a Union Street pub could soon become four new apartments.

The properties would be accessed by a door next to the Molly Malone’s entrance, which is currently sealed off, under proposals submitted by Northern Irish developers GA Parke and Sons Ltd.

There could soon be new flats available above the popular Union Street bar

The flats would be spread out across the first and second floors.

The space has been vacant for 14 years and funding has recently been pledged to bring it up to scratch.

Molly Malones is open until midnight most nights and 1am on Friday and Saturday, and regularly stages live music, so the plans may raise some eyebrows.

As things progress, the developers say a noise assessment will be carried out…

The Union Street building is C-listed.

Dracula plaque at Cruden Bay

Plans to mark the 125th anniversary of Bram Stoker’s Dracula with a plaque in Cruden Bay have been put approved.

The tribute will be fixed to the wall of the Kilmarnock Arms Hotel, where the writer stayed while penning the horror classic.

How the plaque will look on the wall of the hotel.
The board will detail Stoker’s links to the north-east

The plaque is just part of the celebrations, with the Irish author’s great-grandnephew, Dacre Stoker, visiting this summer on a tour of sites said to have influenced the legendary novel.

He said: “It was during his long walks along the beach of Cruden Bay and on to Whinnyfold where all of Bram’s earlier inspiration, notes and research came together.”

Dream home near Knockhall Castle

Further along the north-east coast, plans are underway to create a modern new home in the shadow of the 16th Century Knockhall Castle.

Old farming buildings at the site, on the outskirts of Newburgh, have already been flattened in preparation.

This image shows the site before the agricultural buildings were cleared

Documents submitted to Aberdeenshire Council explain that the proposed house has been “inspired by a contemporary take on traditional agricultural building forms”.

Architects Brown and Brown say the single-storey home will be built in a way to “maximise” the stunning views from the hillside.

Work has already taken place on the land. Picture by Wullie Marr

Blueprints indicate the home will have four bedrooms in one block, linked to the rest of the property in another.

There would be terraces at the front and back and a double garage.

These design pictures offer a glimpse into how the home would look:

This image shows how the living room would have huge windows offering expansive views.
The block with the bedrooms and en-suite bathrooms would be separate to the rest of the residence, and linked with a corridor.
Another image showing the countryside setting of the proposed new home.

Knockhall Castle was built by Lord Sinclair of Newburgh in 1565, but was gutted by a fire in the 1700s.

Jamie Fleeman, the Laird of Udny’s fool, is credited with saving the lives of his employers when the blaze broke out – even though he “initially did not attempt to rouse anyone he disliked”.

‘A heck of an eyesore!’

Finally, we check in on plans for a new Farmfoods in the heart of Inverurie.

The frozen food giant promised the shop on Constitution Street would be “one of the most attractive in Scotland” if approved.

Images unveiled last month show how the new Inverurie Farmfoods would look.

But since the proposals were lodged less than a month ago, more than 50 locals have given the scheme the cold shoulder.

One of the first to offer a frosty reception was Kate Barrie.

She said: “With Aldi, Lidl, Morrisons and Tesco I don’t believe we need another supermarket. And especially not Farmfoods in my opinion.

“Also that would be a heck of an eyesore.”

The store would be built on the site of the old Inverurie Health Centre.

‘Ugly’ building not wanted

Ian Waterston suggested Inverurie is “extremely short of public space such as gardens”, and the space should be used for that.

Ashley Pollard added: “The land could be better used for cafés or entertainment such
as a small cinema (like the arc in Peterhead for example).

“We do not need another bargain food retailer!”

And an unimpressed Richard Freeman said: “The design is ugly.”

Comments will close on Thursday, April 28, with councillors deciding its fate in the coming months.

You can inspect, support or object to all of the plans featured:

New Pitfodels home

Autospares of Huntly to become flat

German Doner Kebab latest

Westhill dog exercise park

Banff tattoo parlour

Montana Guesthouse 

Bon Accord Crescent flats

Molly Malone’s flats 

Dracula plaque at Cruden Bay

Newburgh home at Knockhall Castle

Inverurie Farmfoods plans