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Berryden roadworks force firms to flit, new Holburn Street pizza place and Fife Arms Hotel reveals staff complex plans in Braemar

Berryden corridor improvements mean firms are having to relocate
The Enterprise car hire firm is having to move amid Berryden corridor improvement works. Image from Roddie Reid, design team

Welcome to our weekly round-up of the latest planning applications lodged across the north-east.

This week, we have a look at several proposals helping to shape the hospitality scene in Royal Deeside.

We have progress on a new Ballater seafood restaurant, a spat over continued outdoor seating at the Clachan Grill and a prominent hotelier creating much-needed accommodation for staff.

Meanwhile, in Aberdeen, two firms are on the move amid plans to dual the Berryden corridor – a project which will see their premises knocked down.

Barra Castle honeymoon suite approved

Firstly, we have some good news for any couples keen to make their wedding extra special…

Barra Castle owners David and Sarah Stephen have been given approval to convert a “charming” old building at the property into a luxury honeymoon suite.

This image shows the structure as it is now.
And here is how it will be upgraded as a new addition to the venue.

They have been hosting weddings since 2017 in their The Barn @ Barra Castle venue outside Oldmeldrum.

While the castle was built in 1614-1618, the B-listed garden pavilion in question dates back to 1753.

Another image offering an insight into the revamp.

The owners reckon the stunning views towards Bennachie will be “a strong selling point to potential guests wishing to come and enjoy the pavilion for years to come”.

And they say the work will ensure the building “goes on to survive many
hundreds of years more”.

This cross-section shows how the bedroom will look.

inside, a staircase will be added leading to the bedroom on the upper floor while a small kitchenette will be created “to allow guests to enjoy refreshments”.

A shower room will also be built, with a Juliet balcony added.

Having the honeymoon suite to retreat to could cap off the perfect day for many newlyweds.

Rescue donkeys to be given warm welcome in Aberdeenshire

The owners of Glenbrindy Croft at Keig, near Alford, which was sold for £250,000 in March, have been granted permission for a rather heartwarming addition to their property.

Glenbrindy House, north of Keig. Supplied by Google Maps

The council has allowed Mr and Mrs Venn to build a shelter for rescue donkeys in a field outside their home.

The 3.65m x 3.65m shelter will be across the B992 from the property, close to the Towie Burn.

Donkeys can be very friendly creatures.

Plans to boost north-east egg firm

Meanwhile, Farmlay Eggs at Strichen wants to build an extension measuring 70m by 20m.

Robert Chapman of Farmlay Eggs. Picture by Kenny Elrick

Papers sent to Aberdeenshire Council explain the extra space is needed for a dispatch area, and egg-laying poultry shed.

Farmlay eggs featured in a recent Aldi advert: 

Former owner fighting plans at Ballater restaurant

The Clachan Grill in Ballater has been given permission to keep its outdoor seating for at least another five years – despite complaints from the former owner who now lives yards away.

When Winifred Hepburn created the restaurant on Bridge Square, she says she was told it needed eight parking spaces.

But when the pandemic hit, the Clachan Grill turned the area into space for outdoor dining.

This image from Google Maps shows how there is now only space for one car since the outdoor area was created.

The retired restaurateur says this has had a “most annoying” impact on surrounding residents and was moved to raise “serious objections”.

In her letter, she argued that “on numerous occasions” she had been unable to enter or exit her Albert Road home due to “inconsiderate” patrons now parking on her driveway.

Winifred Hepburn during a charity day at Balmoral Golf Club. Picture by Kath Flannery

She added: “The need for parking should have been increased not removed, with the restaurant areas now accommodating possibly over 100 people and only parking for one car!

“As you will realise I am extremely annoyed by the lack of parking being provided by a restaurant with the capacity it has.”

Make the most of the hot weather while we have it!Our patio is open all weekend from 12 – 10pm. Come & enjoy a Pimm's Cup, Margarita or any cocktail from our menu in the sun! ☀

Posted by Clachan Grill on Saturday, 16 July 2022

Before granting approval, Aberdeenshire Council ordered a parking survey to confirm there were enough spaces on nearby streets.

However, the authority added that “should any further extension be granted” then another parking assessment will be required.

There will be a 7m by 7m canopy erected over the site so that people can dine in the fresh air even if the weather takes a turn. Picture from Google Maps

As well as keeping the outdoor space, the venue has also been given the go-ahead to erect a canopy over the entire area.

New seafood restaurant with its own fishmonger

Elsewhere in the Royal Deeside village, more details have emerged on the future of the former Rothesay Rooms restaurant on Netherley Place.

The Rothesay Rooms on Netherley Place, Ballater. Picture by Kami Thomson

Opened by the then Duke of Rothesay, now King Charles III, to help the community bounce back from Storm Frank, it relocated to the nearby Old Royal Station in May 2021.

Late last year Artfarm Ltd, the the owners of the luxury Fife Arms hotel in Braemar, formed plans to bring it back into use – as Ballater’s first seafood restaurant.

The now king visited the premises for a grand opening.

It will also become the only fishmongers in Deeside, excluding visiting vans.

Planning Ahead revealed in January the restaurant plan had been approved, despite one resident complaining about potential fishy odours.

Now Artfarm has revealed more about the proposals, with a separate application for changes to the 19th Century building.

The accompanying Highgrove shop will become the new Ballater fishmonger.

Consultants Moxon architects state: “The proposed restaurant looks to compliment and expand Ballater’s existing offering, with the adjoined fishmongers.

“The restaurant will provide a family-friendly dining experience which will offer honest and sustainable Scottish seafood and produce from the local area.

“The fishmongers will provide a wide variety of Scottish fish and shellfish.”

As this image from Moxon shows, the owners haven’t picked a name yet. Another application will be lodged for the signage when they do.

The proposed changes include alterations to the shopfront, changing ventilation systems, installing a new roof light and refurbishing the slate roof.

Craigard House becoming staff housing despite care home crisis

In June, we revealed how Artfarm had formed separate plans to create “quality staff accommodation” in Braemar.

It will be needed as the company reopens the nearby Invercauld Arms hotel.

Craigard House was criticised in a report from the Care Inspectorate prior to closing.

But their proposal to turn the former Craigard House care home on Abergeldie Road into a 17-bed complex exclusively for employees raised some eyebrows.

Ballater and Crathie Community Council wanted to see the building “retained for community use”, arguing that other buildings acquired by Artfarm in the area would be better suited.

There were suggestions the former Moorside guesthouse would be more suitable.

Ann Maggs said she “relied on Craigard when her husband resided there”, and told the council it “should remain a care home”.

Nadine Stuart raised concerns about losing limited local space for as many as 19 elderly people.

We are at a critical stage of health and social care provision in rural communities… Removing the opportunity is not logical given the aging population of Ballater,” she said.

Extra staff space will be needed as the Invercauld Arms is revived. Picture by Kami Thomson

She added: “Shift workers coming and going late into the night will increase the noise level and disturb our local residents at night.

“We live in a very quiet area of Ballater and having young staff coming and going at all hours will be disruptive to all on the surrounding area.”

However, amid recruitment troubles in the industry, Artfarm says the complex is needed to “ensure the continued successful operation of the Fife Arms in Braemar and other related restaurants and facilities”.

The Fife Arms Hotel in Braemar
The plush Fife Arms Hotel in Braemar.

And the council is “satisfied” that Craigard does not have a “viable future” as a care home “owing to the large-scale refurbishment and related expense” needed to bring it up to scratch.

The Duke and Duchess of Rothesay visited the newly-restored Fife Arms in 2019.

The report states: “The proposed development will result in the renovation of a
substantial Victorian building which is currently disused and proven to be redundant.

“Its use as staff accommodation for the Fife Arms Hotel shall help support the vitality of what is a crucial tourism and economic business.”

New staff centre planned next to Braemar hotel

The Fife Arms. Picture by Kami Thomson

Meanwhile, the company wants to build a “staff welfare facility” on vacant land between Fife Brae and Cairnadrochit in Braemar.

Artfarm says the proposed building will be “central to the ongoing success of the Fife Arms Hotel”, with the “high-quality” staff spaces hosting training sessions designed to “ensure the hotel functions seamlessly behind the scenes”.

This picture from Google Maps shows the site in question.

Moxon architects add: “Retaining long-term staff and encouraging career development are key focuses for the Fife Arms Hotel team.

“Additional staff welfare spaces are required to facilitate these goals.”

As well as training space, the building could provide “enhanced welfare and social spaces for employee break times”.

The new welfare facility would be built on brownfield land next to the hotel.

Holburn Street pizza proposal

A new pizza and kebab restaurant could be coming to Aberdeen.

The unit next to Junction could become a new takeaway.

The former Cacolat dessert parlour at 33 Holburn Street, next to the Glen Tanar bar, could be turned into a diner.

The plans have been lodged by Bangladeshi man Md Sirazudullah of Aymm Food Ltd.

Blueprints show there would be space for 27 people inside, with a pizza oven and a kebab grille behind the counter.

The building is in need of some work.

Berryden Corridor roadworks force firms to flit

A pair of Aberdeen firms are relocating amid works to tackle congestion along the city’s Berryden Corridor.

The hair products shop and Enterprise car hire centre at Skene Square have fallen victim to the Berryden Corridor project.

Capital Hair and Beauty has already sealed plans to move from Skene Square to a unit at the Lidl building on Hutcheon Street.

Work appears to be taking place on that at the moment.

Workers are carving out the new unit at the Lidl supermarket.

And now the Enterprise car hire firm is on the move after losing its base next to the hairdresser supply store.

The company is seeking permission to shift just 70 metres down the road, to an empty industrial unit on Ann Street.

The industrial storage unit has been on the market for a while.

Papers sent to the council by agents Ryden state: “This has been necessitated due to the compulsory purchase of part of the former Enterprise branch at 80 Skene Square

“The compulsory purchase order was issued by Aberdeen City Council as part of the
Berryden Corridor improvement project.

“The car park of 80 Skene Square and that of neighbouring properties were deemed the most suitable route for the widening of Skene Square, to form a dual carriageway.”

Aberdeen City Council will decide on the proposals.

Enterprise says these plans mean the site has become “unviable” as there wouldn’t be enough parking spaces.

The Berryden corridor improvements have been decades in the making, and the government backed the compulsory purchase plans last summer.

The wider Berryden Corridor project should cut down on traffic jams in the area.

The stretch between Skene Square and Ashgrove Road will be widened, and a new road leading to the Kittybrewster roundabout will be built behind homes on Great Northern Road.

You can see this week’s plans for yourself using these links:

Barra Castle honeymoon suite

Alford donkeys

Farmlay eggs-tension 

Ballater Clachan Grill row

Seafood restaurant

Craigard House

Braemar hotel staff facility

Holburn Street take-away 

Enterprise car hire and Capital Hair and Beauty moving due to Berryden corridor work