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Whisky shop plans for Huntly TSB, Union Street offices to become flats, Tarlair pool revamp approved and Haddo House fountain repairs

The former TSB in the heart of Huntly could become a dram fine attraction as a new whisky shop and tasting room. Picture by Jason Hedges.
The former TSB in the heart of Huntly could become a dram fine attraction as a new whisky shop and tasting room. Picture by Jason Hedges.

Welcome to our weekly round-up of the latest planning applications lodged with Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire councils. 

Planning Ahead offers a sneak glimpse into the proposals that will shape our communities over the coming years… Previewing everything from new city centre restaurants to rural mansions being done up.

This week we have a look at plans for one of the many town centre banks closed in recent times, with a new whisky shop earmarked for Huntly’s former TSB!

And we feature more ambitions to regenerate the heart of Aberdeen by converting old office buildings into flats.

First though, some proposals that could bring a splash of colour to the city’s granite surroundings this summer…

Brolly good idea to brighten streets

How Bon Accord Terrace could look next month.

To raise awareness of neurodiversity, Aberdeen Inspired is applying for permission to create multi-coloured installations of umbrellas next month.

Under the scheme, the brollies will be suspended over Shiprow and Bon Accord Terrace.

These images submitted to council planners reveal how the streets could look after the eye-catching makeovers.

Here’s an idea of how the colourful installation will look.

In a letter to the council, Aberdeen Inspired says the project will “create compelling
reasons for families and individuals to visit the city centre”.

It will shine a light on hidden conditions like ADHD, autism, dyslexia, dyspraxia,
dyscalculia and Tourette’s syndrome.

Legends sports bar to turn former Jack’s Steakhouse into extra pool hall

Legends used to share a building with Jack’s Steakhouse and Grill on Crown Terrace.

Elsewhere in the city centre, an abandoned restaurant could become a sports bar’s second pool hall.

Blueprints submitted by Legends owner Fiona Daniel show how the neighbouring building, the former Jack’s Steakhouse and Grill, would be transformed.

Jack’s Steakhouse and Grill pictured here in 2016.

The old restaurant would become space for four new pool tables, with a bar and a seating area.

There will also be two areas for playing darts, one with three lanes and another with four.

The ground floor restaurant would be turned into space for playing pool, with a new bar built where there used to be dining booths and the kitchen turned into toilets.

Tarlair pool plans APPROVED

This clifftop view outlines how the centrepiece building overlooking the disused pool will be reborn.

In March, Planning Ahead revealed that long-awaited plans to resurrect the pavilion at Tarlair Swimming Pool had finally been submitted to Aberdeenshire Council.

And now we can confirm that local authority planning bigwigs have signed off on the major upgrades to the historic building.

More than £1m has been committed to restoration of the Tarlair pool pavilion. Picture by Kenny Elrick/DCT Media in March 2020.
£1.8m is the estimated cost to restore the iconic Tarlair pool. Picture by Kenny Elrick.

Brandishing their rubber stamp, council officers agreed the plans would “would respect the character of the asset”.

The pavilion proposal is just phase one of the Friends of Tarlair’s ambitions for the former “Mecca of the Moray Firth”.

How the dilapidated pavilion will look following the improvements.

The scheme attracted several letters of support, rekindling nostalgic memories for Forres’s Frank Ritchie.

He said: “Tarlair was such an important part of my childhood when I was growing up in Macduff.

“I am delighted to see that such a beautiful building in such a great location has an opportunity of being preserved and restored.”

Historic feature at Aberdeenshire estate to make a splash once more

Over at Haddo House, a fountain that has been dry for many years could soon burst back into life.

The National Trust for Scotland (NTS), which runs the historic mansion near Methlick, describes the broken water feature as “part of a key vista”.

Water sight! The feature seen here in 2013.

It was commissioned in 1898, with flower beds arranged around it.

But it has fallen into disrepair in recent years, with patchwork upgrades being carried out every so often.

The fountain makes an attractive centrepiece on the lawn at Haddo House.

Now, NTS says: “Due to the frequency of previous repair projects and the loss of original fabric in previous schemes, the Trust are looking to undertake a robust repair project which will safeguard the fountain into the future.”

Good news for visitors keen to create new Instagram stories on visits to the picturesque estate!

This image sent to Aberdeenshire Council by NTS shows the fountain in a poor state of repair.

Torry school transformation update

Another storied site in line for changes is the former Victoria Road school in Torry.

In 2019, the council approved plans to transform it into a new housing development.

Work has been taking place on the old building.

Now, developers have been given permission for a slight tweak to the scheme – creating 14 flats in one block rather than the originally planned nine.

It will increase the overall number of properties there from 50 to 55.

An artists impression of how the site will look in the future.

The changes were required after builders discovered the poor condition of that section of the site, and to help make the project “more viable” after costs spiralled.

Unwanted Aberdeen offices to become homes

The former offices have been put on the market before.

Meanwhile, a former west end office block has been earmarked for new Aberdeen housing.

The former home of the Hampton creative agency at 11 Victoria Street has been unoccupied for some time.

The site isn’t the only vacant office block on Victoria Road.

Aberdeen-based Neil Scullion has now lodged proposals to transform boardrooms into bedrooms by splitting it into two homes…

Shepherds estate agents shared footage of the building in an attempt to find a new taker:

Another Granite Mile block will soon become homes

And nearby at the top end of Union Street, developers are taking a gamble on turning a former Ladbrokes into a new block of five flats.

The building next to the Silver Fin offices could become homes at a time when council leaders want more people to live in Aberdeen city centre.

The scheme, which has been approved by Aberdeen City Council, will see the four-storey 469 Union Street transformed.

The former ground floor bookies, and Headland House office complex, will become one-bedroom flats – each with their own home office.

The new properties appear to be aimed at young professionals.

Gibraltar-based MC Leisure is behind the overhaul, which the planning department said was consistent with the council’s ambitions to get more residents living – and breathing new life into – the stagnant city centre.

It comes after Planning Ahead last week described plans to turn long-abandoned offices above the Molly Malone’s pub into flats, and following a scheme to turn a former commercial premises in Golden Square into 17 apartments.

Headland House was home to Pitman Training among other firms.

Ruby House backlash

While many Aberdonians are keen to see new life brought to the city’s many abandoned offices, not everyone is impressed with plans recently formed for Ruby House…

Under the scheme, the brutalist four-storey block would be converted into 65 flats. 

Ruby House could soon be converted into a block of 65 flats.

‘Tiny flats’ slammed

Aberdeen Civic Society says the office building “is not at all attractive and has looked out of place in this part of Aberdeen for a long time”.

The group adds: “It is a shame that the owner is not using the opportunity of the change
of use to facilitate an entire re-development of the site and make something better.”

Ruby Place resident Neil McMillan says the “tiny flats” will “change the area for the worse” and Sheila Milne predicted parking problems would become “a dire scenario”.

Historians reckon people wouldn’t be lining up to live in Ruby House.

Huntly TSB could become new whisky shop

Finally, some plans Huntly residents will be keen to raise a glass to…

When the TSB in The Square shut last February, it left a gaping hole in the town centre.

Now, more than a year on, it is surrounded by grey hoarding with a splintered wooden facade where the bank’s blue signs once were.

The former TSB in Huntly town centre is a drab sight these days.  Pictures by Jason Hedges

Malcolm Littler, of DSTW Properties Ltd, has put forward plans to turn the abandoned unit into a new whisky shop – and tasting room.

Blueprints indicate how “display barrels” would be dotted about the floor, with locked cabinets hosting the most expensive malts.

The proposed Whiskies of Scotland building would use the first floor as the tasting room, and the second floor for storage.

Here’s how the front of the Whiskies of Scotland shop would look.
The Huntly TSB ground floor would be paradise for malt enthusiasts – with scores of bottles to choose from
The first floor of the Huntly TSB building would look like this if the scheme is approved

It comes just weeks after the town’s old Clydesdale building was turned into a new restaurant named The Bank. 

While Huntly has been hit especially hard by branch closures in recent years, it’s clear locals are now making the best of a bad situation by turning the abandoned units into new attractions.

Feel like supporting any of the plans, using your right to object… Or do you just fancy a look? Follow these links:

Umbrellas to be hung over Shiprow and Bon Accord Terrace

Legends pool hall plans

Tarlair pool

Haddo House fountain fix

Torry school latest 

Victoria Street offices

Union Street flats approved

Ruby House

Huntly TSB