An Aberdeen record store owner has vowed to fight on after his latest application for outdoor seating at his premises was rejected by Aberdeen City Council.
Nick Duthie, the owner of Red Robin Records Vinyl Cafe, has said that after losing his appeal for a five-year outdoor seating arrangement, he will take his fight to the Scottish Government.
Aberdeen City Council rejected the application citing the aesthetics and safety of the plans.
However, Mr Duthie believes more should be done to support small businesses recovering from the Covid pandemic.
‘We think it’s unfair’
Mr Duthie explained the arduous process, which began during the pandemic when the Scottish Government relaxed the rules on outdoor seating due to social distancing.
He said: “We put in a planning application for outdoor seating, but someone from the council explained that we did not need it during the pandemic, and we therefore withdrew our application.
“As Covid hit all businesses, we knew that the outdoor seating had been really beneficial for us so we thought let’s put a planning application in for permeant seating.
“The application was denied on the basis that it wasn’t in keeping with the conservation area of Union Street and also road access.
“We put in an appeal because we believed that it was unfair but the appeal went exactly the same way.”
‘Detrimental impact on character of Union Street area’
A petition signed by over 1,000 residents was lodged as part of the application, but this was also dismissed by the councillors.
Mr Duthie has argued that other outlets had outdoor seating permission, similar to Red Robin.
Mr Duthie found the process “frustrating” as several elements he viewed as important topics for discussion were never brought up.
An Aberdeen City Council spokesman explained safety concerns had been raised as part of the process.
He said: “Planning permission was refused for the outdoor seating pods outside Red Robin Records before Christmas on the grounds that they have a detrimental impact on the character and appearance of the Union Street Conservation Area and the setting of adjoining listed buildings.
“They would obstruct driver visibility both along Correction Wynd and from the pend serving the parking /servicing area to the rear of Correction Wynd, impacting on safety.”
Meetings to discuss next steps
Mr Duthie has now vowed to fight the decision and will be meeting with his architect next week to discuss the next steps.
He said: “We do have another appeal and are going to take it further and see if we can sit down with people who have more to say than they don’t like the look of the seating.
“That’s been the most frustrating thing for us because we didn’t put in planning for a permanent structure.”
While the process has been frustrating for him, Mr Duthie has been touched by the support from the community.
He said: “It restores your faith. Everyone talks about moving to either Glasgow or Edinburgh, but I am an Aberdeen man.
“This is my city, and to have people share the same views as you, it definitely changed my feelings of pure anger to feeling quite humble.”