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Homes plan for historic Kinneff inn after decades of decay, netting to tackle Union Street seagulls and Fierce Beer taproom approved in Dyce

The Rob Roy Inn, Kinneff, features in our latest round-up of planning applications from across the north-east
The Rob Roy Inn, at Kinneff, could finally be in for a new lease of life. Supplied by Chris Donnan, design team

Welcome to Planning Ahead – our weekly round-up of the latest proposals lodged across the north-east.

Our latest instalment comes to you on the spookiest day of the year…

And for many Aberdeen residents it doesn’t get much scarier than the city centre’s flock of aggressive, snack-stealing seagulls.

But now, a newly approved application to install netting above one large Union Street building could deter at least one particularly notorious bird.

Elsewhere new housing plans have been drawn up for Kinneff’s Rob Roy Inn, following its closure almost 30 years ago.

First though, a once-beloved city restaurant could soon be granted a new lease of life.

Aberdeen church turning former Greek restaurant into hall

The Credo Centre wants to take over the space left behind following the closure of the Greek diner.

Christos Greek Taverna became a Granite City institution after opening on John Street in 1991.

But last summer, its “heartbroken” manager announced its closure following the brutal impact of Covid.

Owners blamed the “continuation of restrictions” as they shut the business.

Now, the owners of the building it shares, Karis Property Company Ltd, want to make it a part of the Credo Centre church and social work base.

The old church building was formerly called St George’s in the West, and dates back to 1877.

The 14 John Street building was famed for its dishes like Halloumi and moussaka. Picture by Colin Rennie.

The Credo charity runs a gift shop and cafe on the ground floor, along with a hall, meeting and counselling rooms on the first floor and offices on the top floor.

The new plans would see the former eatery “reverted to ecclesiastic use” as a church hall.

The impressive granite building is just yards from George Street.

Couple pondering new addition to garden

A Ballater couple are applying for permission to build a wildlife pond in their back garden.

Marcelle and Benno Touw, originally from Holland, live at Greystones on Abergeldie Road in the Royal Deeside village.

The house went for £850,000 when it was picked up in 2017.

The couple live here on Abergeldie Road, to the west of the picturesque village. Image from Google Maps.

The proposed pond would have a 1.2m shallow end, a slope in the middle and a 2m deep end.

If approved, it will be surrounded by decking and stonework along with “aquatic planting”.

This design image shows where the pond would be built. Supplied by Hyve Architects

Homes approved despite fears work might disturb baby

Proposals for two new houses on the edge of Muir of Fowlis, near Alford, have been endorsed despite angry objections from neighbours.

The development will be built on scrubland at the edge of the community.

The two-bedroom homes will be put up to the north-west of the hamlet, on a large patch of scrubland.

A Mr and Mrs Peachey weren’t keen though.

The couple say they “specifically” bought the house next door “due to the secluded location and privacy of not having any properties looking into our back garden”.

They add: “We have a young baby and we feel any building work right outside our home would be disruptive and pose a risk to her health due to the dust etc associated with building work.

We are concerned that having neighbours to the rear of the property will lower the value of our home as the privacy is a huge draw.”

There are concerns from other neighbours too. Image from Google Maps

Other neighbours raised concerns the houses would be next to a “blind bend which traffic travels along at speed”.

And some questioned the need for new properties to be built in the area at all.

The homes would have large living rooms and dining/family areas at the front. Image supplied by Andrew Keir architects.

But Aberdeenshire Council officers approved the plans, lodged by Kevin MacFarlane from Torphins.

They insisted, however, that work be undertaken to make sure the entrances are visible from the road.

Natwest to tear out machines

Earlier this month Natwest announced that it would close its only Aberdeen branch in January.

Bosses argued the Union Street branch was no longer viable.

The firm said average counter transactions had shrunk by nearly two thirds between January 2019 and January 2022.

And pleas to reconsider appear to have fallen on deaf ears, with new plans lodged to rip out the ATMs and night safe at the Union Street branch.

The firm says it will “make good” where any removals affect the building.

The bank machine, handily placed for many a reveller on a night out at the top end of Union Street over the years, is likely to be torn out when the branch closes.

In recent days, work has taken place to tear out the machines at the old Bank of Scotland building nearby following its recent closure.

The plans for the B-listed Canada House were covered in Planning Ahead when submitted in June.

Workers were seen deconstructing the interior and removing the ATMs from the Bank of Scotland on Wednesday, October 26.

Another ‘ceiling of light’ could brighten up Aberdeen this winter

Last week, we revealed plans for a new “ceiling of light” installation on Shiprow, making use of fixtures already in place to cast a festive glow over the lane this winter.

This image from Aberdeen Inspired shows the changes planned for Shiprow.

Now Aberdeen Inspired has lodged separate papers for the same sort of feature to be draped over Bon Accord Terrace, at the junction with Langstane Place And Justice Mill Lane.

The ‘ceiling of light’ will use hooks left behind from the umbrella display on the street this summer. Image from Aberdeen Inspired.

Holburn Street take-away could be grilled over unauthorised sign

Mohammed Kioum is retroactively applying for permission for a light-up sign outside a yet-to-open Aberdeen take-away.

The Highland Coo sign was put up a few months ago, and now permission is being sought for it.

Mr Kioum has put up the board for the Highland Coo Steak Grill already at 18 Holburn Street.

Its LEDs illuminate it in the dark.

Papers sent to the council explain that, since putting it up, the businessman has been “given nice and helpful advice” about the need to have applied for consent.

The take-away is next to the former Barber’s Pole hairdresser.

If permission is refused, he will have to take it down again.

And in the past, Aberdeen residents have taken exception to such signage near their homes…

Earlier this year Planning Ahead revealed that Big Manny’s Pizza at Pittodrie Street would have to remove an unauthorised glowing sign after neighbours complained.

Bins being moved amid fire fears

Further along Holburn Street, RGU bosses want to move the bin store at the university’s Crathie Student Village.

This image from Google Maps shows the present location of the bin store.

They say the present location, just off Crathie Terrace, makes it a risk for “willful fire-raising” so instead want to place it further away from the entrance.

Dyce taproom plans approved amid anger over bus cuts

Fierce Beer’s brewery in Dyce will soon have a crowd-pleasing addition.

Fierce Beer’s plans for a new bar at its Kirkhill industrial estate base in Dyce delighted fans when they were submitted in August.

The proposal has now been approved, though the firm has recently had cause to fear for its success amid some unpopular bus cuts.

It comes as First plans to slash the X27 service, which takes passengers between the city centre and Dyce, the Kirkhill industrial estate and the airport.

Fierce Beer’s founding duo: Operations director Dave McHardy, left, and managing director Dave Grant.

Managing director Dave Grant told us about his fears for the taproom – and for staff getting to work.

He said: “Even notionally, the harder it is to go somewhere, the more you just don’t want to do it.

“You could be wanting to head out to our taproom, and if it’s really easy to access it, you might come out, but if it’s in any way difficult, you’re probably not going to make the journey.”

The Dyce firm has a fiercely loyal fanbase. Picture by Kami Thomson / DC Thomson

The plans for the Howe Moss Terrace site were made possible after Fierce followers raised £150,000 in just a few days.

The bar will be next to the main brewery building, with food trucks on hand to serve hot meals to guests.

The taproom will be open four days a week from Thursday to Sunday. Time will tell whether the bus problems impact on its success.

Kincardine Estate wants to keep temporary kitchen

The Kincardine Estate is seeking permission to keep a temporary unit in place for an extra year to help a local food firm thrive.

Kincardine Castle Kitchen operates from the hut next to the old Borrowstone Farmhouse there.

Rupert Holden, of Kincardine Castle Kitchen, showing off his wares.

Husband and wife Rupert Holden and Louisa Bradford make preserves, biscuits and snacks that are sold by local retailers and at farmers markets across Aberdeenshire.

Estate bosses are now asking to extend permission granted last year for an extra 12 months.

Tradition, dedication and passion are at the heart of Kincardine Castle Kitchen. Picture shows Rupert Holden and Louisa Bradford

They say this will give the business time to find a “more permanent structure”.

Learn more about the business with our exclusive video:

Netting over new Union Street flats could deter notorious bird

The run-down block next to Aberdeen Music Hall is now in line for improvements.

Most Aberdonians will be familiar with a famous viral video clip showing a brazen seagull strolling into a Union Street Co-op and leaving with a sandwich clamped in its beak.

The resourceful creature then swaggers out and pecks apart the wrapper before tucking in.

Now, new plans to upgrade 28 flats above the supermarket (featured in last week’s Planning Ahead) could mean the end of the feathered fiend’s daring raids.

As part of the newly approved package of works, huge nets will cover the entire roof of the block along from Aberdeen Music Hall.

The council will do up the old block before offering the 28 flats up as affordable homes.
This image from Aberdeen City Council shows how netting will be put up to keep birds from nesting on the roof.

Netting is commonly used in areas where seagulls are known to cause a nuisance.

And last year, Aberdeen Art Gallery was forced to take similar measures to stop the birds making a mess of the revamped venue.

The Co-op will be hoping the nets help keep its aisles bird-free.

The move will surely be welcomed by the owners of the new Chinese take-away and dessert parlour opening in the former Sainsbury’s next to the Co-op.

But whether it means the store’s stock is safe remains to be seen.

You can find out where the sandwich-stealing seagull placed on our list of notorious gulls here.

Where in Aberdeen do you think could do with anti-seagull netting? Let us know in our comments section below

Crumbling Rob Roy Inn at Kinneff could finally be revamped

The new house is planned for the grassy area next to the decaying, long-closed pub.

The Rob Roy Inn at Kinneff dates back to the early 19th century, but has become “uninhabitable” since closing more than 25 years ago.

Its final owners, David and Elsie Ross, bemoaned a lack of local support after the final pint was pulled in 1995 (coincidentally the same year that Liam Neeson played the Scottish clan chief on film).

This article from The P&J in 1997 details the closure of Kinneff’s Rob Roy Inn two years earlier. The conversion plans mentioned never materialised.

In 2019 a proposal to turn the derelict former pub into two homes was approved by Aberdeenshire Council.

It came two years after a prior refurbishment project was abandoned.

This concept image from Bennett architects shows the housing plan approved in 2019.

And applicant E Gordon from Stonehaven explained that “the original internal charm of the property” had already been lost to “extensive modernisation works”.

New homes plan for Kinneff’s Rob Roy Inn

Now, new plans have been lodged for housing at the crumbling C-listed building.

Mr Gordon is seeking permission to turn the adjoining site of a former coaching stable into another home.

It’s been a long time since the Rob Roy Inn at Kinneff was last used, and it’s badly decayed over the years.

Bennett Architectural Design say the stables date back to the late 19th Century, and appears to have latterly been used as a “storage and workshop” space for the Rob Roy Inn.

The firm adds: “In approving this development, a neglected, semi derelict property will have a positive future.”

The new property by the A92 coastal road could be one of three homes at the site of the former Rob Roy Inn.

The scheme for the spot, at the side of the road to the north of the village, comes weeks after an application to demolish and replace Kinneff Village Hall was submitted.

You can read more about it in our previous Planning Ahead round-up here.

The sun sets on another Planning Ahead round-up…

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

Aberdeen church taking over Greek restaurant

Ballater wildlife pond

Muir of Fowlis homes approved

Natwest Aberdeen machines being removed

New “ceiling of light” 

Holburn Street signage

Bins being moved

Dyce taproom approved

Kincardine Castle Kitchen

Union Street netting 

Rob Roy Inn Kinneff houses