A charity’s plans to transform the historic Kintore Town House into a new community centre have been given the go-ahead.
Action Kintore lodged proposals with Aberdeenshire Council last year in a bid to revamp the A-listed building.
The 275-year-old town house was built by the then Earl of Kintore when he was elected as the Royal Burgh’s Provost.
It has had a number of uses over the years including a courthouse, jail and the chambers for Kintore Burgh Council.
And parts of the building have also been used as a post office, shop and doctor’s surgery over the years.
What will Kintore Town House changes involve?
The development will see a café created on the ground floor and a public hall on the first floor.
Action Kintore is hoping that the Town House will eventually become a venue for various events – from theatre and comedy shows to art exhibitions and museum displays.
The group also has plans to make the building a venue for small weddings.
‘This is just the start’
Kintore and District Community Council worked alongside the charity in forming the plans.
Group chairman Jamie Grant told us: “This is just the start.
“There will be a considerable amount of work to do, particularly in raising the funds to bring the plans to reality.
“In recent years the building has not been accessible to the public.
“The plans that have been approved are aimed at bringing the Town House back into use for the benefit of the local community.”
Future of Kintore Town House secured
Brian Johnstone, Chairman of Action Kintore, added: “As a historic listed building, the plans are aimed at conserving it.
“Essential facilities such as stairs and a lift, for disabled access, are incorporated with glazed extensions, minimising the impact on the appearance of the Town House.
“The fabric of the original building will be otherwise unchanged, including the distinctive external double stairway and the clock tower.”
Mr Johnstone previously told us the overhaul would cost “more than a million pounds”.
Who objected to the revamp?
However, prior to gaining approval, the plan received three objections including one from the Architectural Heritage Society of Scotland (AHSS).
In its objection AHSS said: “It is good to see that this very handsome building is to enjoy needful updating, but we can see no benefit in spoiling its symmetry by extending the building to the east.”
‘This won’t bring anyone to the village’
Local businessman Allan Campbell of The Square also voiced his concerns for the plan.
He said: “It would be fantastic to see the building as a focal point attraction/museum or multi-use venue.
“A café and a function suite will not bring anyone to the village unfortunately, and will cause more disruption than good.”
Despite the objections, council planners have rubber-stamped the scheme.
You can see the Kintore Town House plans here.