A religious group wants to build a new church hall at an Ellon industrial estate.
The Jesmond Gospel Hall Trust is seeking Aberdeenshire Council’s permission to use land on Balmacassie Brae.
The site sits behind the town’s Tesco superstore, next to the household waste recycling centre and close to the huge BrewDog beer brewery.
It’s also just metres from where a proposed McDonald’s drive-thru could be built.
Who is behind the plans?
The proposal has been lodged on behalf of the Plymouth Brethren Christian Church, a group which has 50,000 members across the world.
The body promotes a lifestyle of “separation” from non-members, eating and drinking “only with those with whom we would celebrate the Lord’s Supper”.
But it denies any accusations of operating as a secretive sect, insisting members “live and work harmoniously in the mainstream of society”.
What would the new hall be used for?
Leaders say there is a need for a new hall in Ellon to hold “specific services, for which numbers must be strictly limited”.
Plymouth Brethren Christian Church say it is “essential” to have small gatherings of no more than 45 people as each member takes part in the service.
It will not be leased out for use by other organisations for social events.
While services would be held on Sunday mornings and Monday evenings, the hall would also be used for gospel preachings on Sunday afternoons.
The site will also have 49 parking spaces for members, including three disabled bays and an electric vehicle charging point.
If approved, the church would aim to open the hall early next year.
Why build new church at Ellon industrial estate?
A large number of the congregation already live in Ellon, leaders say.
The church says it initially tried to find a suitable location in the town centre but had no success.
They considered establishing a base on the former academy site on Union Street, however it has been earmarked for new council offices and library.
Church leaders also looked at sites on Hospital Road and Craigs Road.
They even debated the former garage site on South Road, but scrapped this idea after plans to build flats there were recently approved.
What does the church have to say about the proposal?
A spokesman for the Plymouth Brethren Christian Church said the application comes “after many years of searching for a suitable location”.
He said: “The site itself lies within the Balmacassie Commercial Estate and is currently vacant, offering no benefit to the Ellon community.”
The spokesman added: “As a mainstream Christian church whose members live by values of care, charity and compassion, this new Gospel Hall also promises to play an important role in our extensive charitable efforts in the area and across the region.”
Does the church have a presence in the north-east?
Plymouth Brethren Christian Church own the gospel hall on Balmedie’s Eigie Road.
Services will continue to be held there, including larger events such as weddings and burials.
The Plymouth Brethren Christian Church was established in the early 19th Century.
It has a presence in 100 locations across the globe and has more than 400 places of worship in the UK.
You can view the plans here.