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Outdoor seating plans for Westhill bistro, new Union Street flats, Holburn Street salon to become ice cream shop and revamp for historic Collieston church manse

Duncano's in Westhill wants to offer outdoors seating. Supplied by Michael McCosh, design team
Duncano's in Westhill wants to offer outdoors seating. Supplied by Michael McCosh, design team

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

Every Monday morning we detail developments proposed on doorsteps from Deeside to Drumblade – and everywhere in between.

This week, we feature various efforts to breathe new life into abandoned Aberdeen office buildings – both as flats and an innovative play centre.

In Westhill, the popular Duncano’s restaurant is eager to open an al fresco area.

And we have a look at plans to do up a historic church manse along the Aberdeenshire coast.

Cafe where imagination is the vital ingredient

The building on Victoria Street could be in for some interesting changes

It might take some imagination to see how a fairly small Aberdeen office building could soon become a supermarket, a building site and a hospital.

Thankfully, that’s something most youngsters have in abundance.

And Aberdeen children, up to the age of seven, will be able to indulge their creative sides under plans to turn Nicol House into a “role play cafe”.

The venue was previously home to Aberdeen Medical Services.

The former occupational health clinic at 14 Victoria Street, to the west of the city centre, has been empty for years.

Blueprints show how applicant Robert Whitelaw would divide the ground floor into six “themed play areas” for up to 20 children – with space on the first floor available for parties.

There are several unused office buildings on Victoria Street.

Papers submitted to Aberdeen City Council state: “The provision of these play spaces is about more than just fun.

“It is an important element of learning.”

And while the children are having fun, there would be a cafe for parents and guardians to have a natter over a cup of tea and fine piece.

Holburn Street beauty salon in line for tasty makeover

Nearby, the former Body N Sol beauty salon could soon be swapping gel nails for gelato, and lip filler for tubs of vanilla.

The former beauty salon is at the right of the block.

The unit, at the foot of a B-listed four-storey granite tenement, is planned to become the city’s newest ice cream shop.

The 28 Holburn Street premises would also sell coffee, sandwiches and a range of bakes.

The vacant unit has become something of an eyesore in recent times.

And there are plans to cater for anyone keen for the occasional ice cream cone in the sun.

Blueprints sent to the council show how it would have 10 seats outside along with 20 indoors.

It comes after we revealed proposals to turn a historic office block just yards away into nine apartments.

The sun was beating down on Holburn Street when we took this recent image.

Meanwhile… New salon reveals face-lift planned for former kilt shop

In March, Planning Ahead revealed that the council had rubber-stamped proposals for a new beautician to open up at the old Alex Scott and Co kilt shop on the corner of Back Wynd and Schoolhill.

Successful applicant Abbas Hassan has now lodged separate plans for new signage, indicating the business will be known as the Hourglass Aesthetics Training Academy.

The former Alex Scott and Co kilt shop had been a city centre staple for decades.
How the revamped shop will look.

New house for St Cyrus hotel owners

The owner of the St Cyrus Hotel is seeking permission to build a two-bedroom bungalow in the garden behind the village venue.

This image from Google Maps offers a glimpse of the rear of the hotel, where the new home would be built.

Papers submitted to Aberdeenshire Council say it will be used only as accommodation for Ian Bailey.

If plans for the new home are approved, Mr Bailey would be keen to turn his existing home at the premises into more hotel rooms in an effort to secure some extra income.

Have a look around the Mearns hotel, which dates back to 1890: 

Garden at Turriff Cottage Hospital

NHS Grampian has put forward plans to create a new lounge for palliative care patients at Turriff Cottage Hospital.

Turriff Cottage Hospital seen here in an image from Google Maps.

Alongside that work, a new garden will be created in a courtyard behind the Deveron Ward for patients to enjoy the outdoors.

Plans for historic Collieston church manse

A historic former church manse, designed by famed Aberdeen architect William Smith, could be in line for some changes.

Slains House, at Collieston

Slains House, at Collieston, was put on the market for offers over £450,000 and snapped up by a Mr and Mrs Hannah last April.

The property dates back to about 1876 when it was built for Slains Parish Church.

The large living room of the property.

It was sold by the Church of Scotland in 1974, becoming an antiquarian bookshop and a B&B.

Dutch couple Huib Attema and Nienka Van Ginkel spent 12 years turning it into a stunning family home.

After spending a dozen years doing up the old manse, Nienka and Huib decided to sell up. Picture by Heather Fowlie.

The new owners are now appealing for permission from Aberdeenshire Council to upgrade the listed building.

They want to create an extension in the form of a large conservatory, known as an “orangery”, to use as a family room and dining space.

This image gives an idea of the impressive views on offer from Slains House.

Lippe Architects and Planners state: “The new room gains the sunlight provided during large portions of the day and the occupants can enjoy the excellent views over the adjacent fields.”

Other alterations will see the current kitchen and breakfast area turned into a boot room and library, and all 31 windows in the two-and-a-half storey house replaced.

Scroll back and forth to see the changes: 

Meanwhile, a dressing room would be created off a first-floor bedroom.

Cruickshanks flats scheme reborn

A developer has relaunched efforts to transform the former Cruickshanks furniture store in Banff into flats.

Andrew Buchan had his plans to convert the building into 13 properties thrown out earlier this year.

This image from Google Maps shows the dilapidated store on High Street in Banff.

He has now tendered new proposals to turn the High Street site into just nine flats, but it has already attracted some concerns.

Vida Pantel, who owns the neighbouring County Hotel, says the flats would have a “direct impact” on the privacy of guests.

Torry flats plan refused after parking claims branded ‘nonsense’

Proposals to convert a garage and yard on Walker Place into a four-storey block of eight flats have been refused by Aberdeen City Council.

The scheme for Bridge Motors, in Torry, was formed by JOR Property Ltd.

JOR Property would have got rid of its own workshop as part of the changes.

The developer said the commercial van movements, and “short stay parking associated with the business”, is “not appropriate for the local residents”.

Papers sent to the council claimed doing away with the garage would free up plenty space for vehicles belonging to the residents living in the eight flats.

How this imposing four-storey block would have looked on Walker Place.

Walker Place resident Joanna Lock said: “To say that there is ample provision for
parking in this street and neighbouring streets is nonsense.”

The council’s planning department knocked it back citing insufficient information, the size of the development impacting on neighbours and its “excessive footprint”.

Another angle depicting the proposed development.

Eco-friendly heating scheme for Torry homes

Also in Torry, £30 million plans for a new district heat network are coming along.

Two months ago, we reported on the scheme to pipe low cost, low carbon heat to hundreds of homes in the area. 

The council has now lodged plans to install more than 600m of underground pipelines to serve scores of properties.

These five blocks backing onto Balnagask Play Park will be hooked up under the new proposals.

This latest work would include 150 homes in Balnagask Circle, Balnagask Court and Farquhar Road, as well as Torry School and Torry social work office.

The heat network will be fuelled by the Ness energy from waste plant being built in East Tullos.

The new waste plant pictured earlier this month. Picture by Paul Glendell

Already, there are 146 homes in three Torry high rises connected to a smaller heat grid, in Morven Court, Brimmond Court and Grampian Court.

New al fresco area to cater for bustling Duncano’s diner in Westhill

Duncano’s pictured here weeks after opening at Westhill Shopping Centre. Picture by Scott Baxter

When Duncano’s opened at the former Key West pub in Westhill last December it was hailed as a welcome and much-needed addition to the town.

The “incredibly plush” bar and bistro soon impressed the P&J’s food experts, with its “wine and cocktail options like no other venue in the town”.

Many are flocking to Westhill to try dishes like these stylishly served scallops at Duncano’s. Picture by Scott Baxter

Since then, it has become a very popular spot – especially among ladies who lunch.

And now owner Lynne Duncan is asking Aberdeenshire Council for permission to build a new decking area outside the premises at Westhill Shopping Centre.

The owners posted on Facebook recently about the addition: 

The Deck at Duncano’s Who’s excited for what’s coming soon? ☀️🥂🍻🍸#sunshine #comingsoon #alfresco #savourthemoment

Posted by Duncano's Bar Bistro on Wednesday, 20 April 2022

If approved, it would allow room for an extra six tables-for-two and eight four-seaters.

But one Westhill resident has written to the local authority urging officers to quash the Duncano’s application.

Eileen Smith is unhappy at the prospect of visitors to nearby shops “having to walk through the seating area of a cafe, which will either disturb customers, cause collisions with waiting staff or make any pedestrian feel like they should not be there”.

Judy Murray seemed impressed on her visit to Duncano’s, joking the Westhill venue was named after her son Duncan: 

Affordable Union Street flats to help ‘energise’ centre of Aberdeen

Finally, yet more plans to get more people living in Aberdeen city centre have been drafted up.

This time, developer Cater Group is seeking to create 15 affordable flats above the Coral bookies and new Merkur Slots gambling venue at 181 Union Street.

The building at 181 Union Street will be a close neighbour of the new Geek Retreat store – so could be perfect for any Dungeons and Dragons fans.

It is a slightly tweaked version of plans they previously had approved for the site, instead with 15 flats this time rather than 17.

They say this will “see all flats achieving a greater level of amenity”.

Overall there would be 10 one-bedroom properties and five with two bedrooms, under the proposals worth almost £2m.

Two of the proposed homes are specifically designed for wheelchair users.

Developers will feel the plans are a safe bet, having previously been granted permission for 17 flats in the same building.

The former Picture House and Gaumont cinema building was last used by the NHS as offices, but the upper floors have been empty for years.

While the building may look too small for 15 flats when viewed from the Granite Mile, the rear on Windmill Brae has another two floors at ground and basement level.

Cater Group has also been behind proposals to build flats at the old barracks off King Street and at the old Atholl House office complex on Guild Street.

Neil Rothnie architecture and design consultants say the plans will “enliven and energise the city centre”.

It follows recent applications for flats above the Molly Malone’s pub, and a scheme to create a block of five at 469 Union Street.

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