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New King Street Co-op plans surge forward with £650,000 building project

And the future of Mannofield's Aberdeenshire Cricket Club could depend on rent money from a nursery opening up next door...

The Co-op wants permission to kit out this King Street unit as its latest Aberdeen branch
The Co-op wants permission to kit out this King Street unit as its latest Aberdeen branch. Image: Ben Hendry/Chris Donnan

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

Our latest instalment comes amid news that the Princess of Wales and her children have joined King Charles and other royals on their annual summer stay at Balmoral.

As always, we have a round-up of Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire applications fit for a king – including an English family who want to follow his example by moving to Royal Deeside.

Elsewhere we have plans for a new Aberdeen Co-op store, as coincidence would have it, on King Street.

And we learn how a new nursery could help a city cricket club survive.

First, we have an old office being lined up for a new look…

Aberdeen offshore office could get a makeover

A Northfield hairdresser is sharpening his scissors to bring his stylings to the west end.

Joseph Armstrong wants to turn the former office at 25 Carden Place into a new Embrace Hair and Beauty salon.

The building has been used primarily for offices over the years. Image: Denny Andonova/DC Thomson.

The unit was previously leased to shipbroking firm Braemar Offshore Energy Services, which runs another four offices in London, New Jersey, Singapore and Houston.

But ever since they relocated to a more central base, it has lain empty.

Mr Armstrong is now gearing up to give the three-storey building a glow-up as he aims to expand his business.

Aberdeen masseuse wants to work from home

For many folk, working from home means typing away at a laptop and remembering to unmute yourself on Teams…

Not so for Andrew Gordon, who is seeking permission to continue massage therapy sessions from the comfort of his city property.

One of the three bedrooms in the house has been turned into a studio. Image: Andrew Gordon.

Mr Gordon lives in a three-bedroom flat on 92 Queens Road, with one of the rooms serving as a spa studio.

He set it up without permission though, and is now retroactively seeking the council’s say-so to carry out sessions.

The massage studio is located at the back of the house, and all customers are led through the garden. Image: Andrew Gordon.

In his plea, he argues the studio’s proximity to homes is what makes it so “attractive” to customers in the area.

Mr Gordon adds moving it would have a “detrimental impact” on his business and put off clients.

Fears garish advertising sign could ruin traditional charm of Fittie

The Fittie area of Aberdeen is famed for its picturesque, old fashioned look.

It’s the perfect spot for a scenic stroll, and few can resist the urge to take some photos when passing through.

The Fittie area is a favourite among locals and tourists. Image: Ben Hendry/DC Thomson

So it’s perhaps understandable that plans to erect an illuminated advertising sign on a granite wall there came under some scrutiny.

Lady Penelope Holdings sought permission to put up a digital display on Wellington Street to “rectify a jagged gap site” and make it more attractive.

It was hoped this would encourage developers to take on the derelict plot near the Fittie Bar, maybe one day putting it to good use.

The sign was proposed to “enhance” the remains of the “unattractive” building on Wellington Street. Image: Ian Rodger Architects.

All adverts would have been changed remotely every 15 to 30 seconds, with the brightness of the signage reduced during the hours of darkness.

And the firm reckoned this would be the perfect location for it, given the regular flow of people visiting the beach and famous fishing cottages.

They insisted it would be an “inobtrusive addition to the streetscape”.

The proposed illuminated sign would sit about 20ft off the ground. Image: Ian Rodger Architects.

Sign considered ‘too bright’ for city’s ‘grey and dull’ winter days

Unimpressed planning officers have now scrapped the proposals, blasting its “significantly detrimental impact” on the area’s traditional appearance.

The sign’s lighting levels also raised a few eyebrows, as well its “overtly prominent” location and quality.

While documents stated the “tucked” sign would cause no distress, officers decided the display would be too bright for drivers in the “grey, dull” winter days.

Wellington Street is home to several businesses such as the iconic Fittie Bar. Image: Kath Flannery/DC Thomson.

New top up tap for pupils in Huntly

Management at Huntly’s Gordon Schools have come in for some criticism since children returned last week, with parents blasting a “bonkers” new policy.

Now, pupils are being asked to scan a QR code whenever they leave the class, even to go to the toilet…

Bosses say it’s simply to “keep track” of them, but separate proposals for the area might soon put this to the test.

The Gordon Schools, Huntly
The Gordon Schools in Huntly. Image: Shutterstock

Unfortunately timed Scottish Water plans for a refill station there could see well-hydrated pupils scanning at such a rate we can only hope the new system doesn’t crash.

The addition would be installed on Castle Street, just off the school’s premises, and perfectly positioned for pupils to top up their water bottles.

It’s part of Scottish Water’s drive to encourage people to drink more water by making it available in parks, beaches and other public spaces.

This is how the top up tap will look once installed. Image: Scottish Water.

There are now more than 70 bright blue top up taps across the country – from Shetland and Stornoway to the Scottish Borders.

You can find a handy map with all of the locations here.

Family plans for historic Braemar cottage

Meanwhile, a Buckinghamshire family is taking on an ambitious renovation project to make Royal Deeside their permanent home.

Owners of the Lui Cottage in Braemar have lodged plans to fix up the C-listed granite building and make it fit for the 21st century.

The house, dating back to 1905, will be refurbished and a single-storey extension will be built to serve as a new lounge.

Lui Cottage is located on the corner of Chapel Brae and Broomback Terrace, near the Highland Gathering Games Park. Image: Moxon Architects.

The two parts will be linked with a glazed hall, acting as an “architectural distinction between new and old”.

Moxon Architects, hired to create the designs, say their aim is to make the site suitable for “modern living”, while retaining its “originality and authenticity”.

Under the proposals, the nearby Wee House would also be re-built.

Traditional features of the cottage such as sash and case windows will be complimented by crittall style doors, whereas the new extension will feature frameless glazing. Image: Moxon Architects.

Papers submitted to Aberdeenshire Council say the historic timber structure has fallen into “considerable disrepair” and is “structurally unsound”.

They add the existing rooms are very small, and the floor-to-ceiling heights on the first floor makes the space practically unusable.

If approved, all of this would be altered to extend the building’s lifespan for decades and create a suitable second accommodation.

Following a condition survey by a structural engineer, the 120-year-old timber Wee House was deemed “structurally unsound” so needs to be rebuilt. Image: Moxon Architects.

U-turn on future of Ballater bothy

Elsewhere in Deeside, a derelict bothy believed to have once sheltered mill workers and servants could get an unexpected new lease of life.

The owners had previously planned to demolish the small building near Bridge of Gairn in Ballater and erect a traditional house and a garage in its place.

But turning the project on its head, they have now decided to refurbish it instead.

The bothy can be used as a “granny flat” for elderly relatives. Image: Gerry Robb Architectural Design Services.

The bothy will be repaired and equipped with a bedroom, a bathroom and a snug, where the owners’ family can come and stay for a visit.

It will be an extension to a proposed three-bedroom house there.

St Cyrus cafe change approved despite fears for tourism cash

Earlier this year, we revealed plans to turn the closed Old Bakery cafe at St Cyrus into a new home.

St Cyrus cafe
The once-popular cafe off the main road through the village. Image: Google Maps

The 19th century venue had been a favourite among day-trippers taking in the Mearns coast until it closed at the start of the year.

Cabella Properties, which is based nearby and run by Wayne and Salinee Cabrelli, has now been given permission to turn it into a house.

A building warrant prices the conversion at £90,000.

A reader sent in this photo of their dog Ginny at St Cyrus Nature Reserve. Image: Rebecca Bruce

Will demise of cafe be a hammer blow for St Cyrus?

Villager Andrew Stevenson had urged Aberdeenshire Council to reject the proposal, worrying about a loss of visitor spend to neighbouring Angus.

He said: “The site has been run as a successful coffee shop for decades. Recently it was employing approximately 12 people.

“Tourists seeking the nearest equivalent venue of a coffee shop would likely end up in Angus, so Aberdeenshire would lose out.

“We simply don’t need more houses, but we do need amenities, as these are vital to communities.”

‘No one wanted to continue the cafe amid rocketing costs’

Mr Cabrelli responded, saying there were seven viewings since it went on the market in December – and only three people wanted to continue the cafe business.

He added: “The property was marked sold in April 2023 and is currently still under offer, subject to planning being granted.

“It was clear from the viewings and the information available to potential buyers
that the business had become unsustainable.”

St Cyrus cafe
The cafe will become a home. Image: Google Maps

He listed “rocketing energy costs in a purely electrically heated establishment” and spiralling food and drink costs for this.

Mr Cabrelli said: “No one seemed to want to take the risk on the café continuing.

“It’s unfortunate that the village will likely lose this asset but, at this stage, the
options are an empty building or redevelopment.”

The council has now approved the change.

Nursery continues Aberdeen expansion by eyeing up old oil office

The Kingswellies Nursery is in the midst of a march into the city from its Kingswells home.

In May, bosses lodged plans to take over the closed Abacus Centre on Queens Road.

Now they have set their sights on the Eventure oil base on Morningside Lane in Mannofield.

The office is due to close in 2024. Image: Google Maps

The 1990 building has been offered to rent in recent times, with planning papers saying it’s “due to become vacant”.

It would offer space for 80 children and 17 workers if these changes are approved.

Here’s how the building would look. Image: Halliday Fraser Munro

Architects add: “The building has been marketed as office space for some time without any interest to date.”

A fire damaged house at 23 Morningside Lane, with no roof, would make way for an outdoor play area.

This shows how a blaze-hit home would be removed from the site.

Empty building would be ‘devastating’ for cricket club

The next door Aberdeenshire Cricket Club owns building, and the car park which would be used, and has stressed the dire need for the scheme to be endorsed. 

Club president Stuart Grant said it would be a “very positive solution” when the Eventure office becomes vacant next year.

Some action from a recent SPCU game between Aberdeenshire and Strathmore, with Manu Saraswat in action at the Mannofield ground. Image: Kath Flannery/DC Thomson

He adds: “The loss of this rental income would have a devastating impact on club revenue.

“Having KingsWellies providing a childcare facility provides a unique opportunity to maximise this asset, and secure income to help ensure the future stability of the club.”

Taking in a recent game: David Gamblen, Jack Nixon, Stuart Grant and Patrick Lynas. Image: Kath Flannery/DC Thomson

Is anyone unhappy about the plans?

Frances Walker, who lives nearby on Great Western Road, is asking the council to reject the application.

The neighbour worries it will exacerbate parking problems…

Drivers aren’t afforded much wiggle room on Morningside Lane. Image: Google Maps

She said: “Morningside Lane is a relatively quiet narrow backwater, and vitally houses the only available parking space nearby for existing homeowners.

“Currently we are lucky if you can place a cigarette paper between parked cars.”

There would be some dedicated spaces at the cricket club’s car park. Image: Google Maps

She adds: “Any commercial property housing 80 nursery children with insufficient proposed parking for even their own staff, let alone the avalanche of parents dropping and picking up their children, is unworkable.

“The other main issue is noise. This is unfair to people owning property which overlooks the relatively quiet cricket pitch.”

It will be down to the council to umpire the debate…

🎾Toni visit 🐶 Welliebeans have loved having a visit today in the garden with our not so little anymore 🦮puppy Toni….

Posted by Wellies Nurseries on Wednesday, 23 August 2023

Plans for new King Street Co-op in Aberdeen ramp up

At the end of 2021, the Co-op opened a new Aberdeen shop in the former fire service control room at Mounthooly.

Now, the grocery giants are rolling out plans for another branch a short distance away.

New Aberdeen King Street Co-op
The new Co-op has been a long time coming. Image: Ben Hendry/DC Thomson

Bosses want permission to fit out their latest convenience store in a new unit next to the Bobbin student pub on King Street.

Documents sent to Aberdeen City Council by the Manchester-based company suggest the project could cost £648,000.

The plans have something of a long history…

The Co-op could be a hit with students across King Street at the adjacent Aberdeen University. Image: Ben Hendry/DC Thomson

Plans for new Co-op on Aberdeen’s King Street stretch back years

Proposals for a shop there were first lodged by West Coast Estates in 2019. By that time, the former pub car park had been disused for seven years.

The developers hinted that “negotiations with a national food retailer” were at an advanced stage over the site.

Aberdeen King Street Co-op
The fit-out would cost more than half-a-million pounds. Image: Ben Hendry/DC Thomson

They said this would “remedy a deficiency” in “local convenience shopping”, which may not have gone down well with the Spar a few hundred yards away.

Permission was granted in February 2021, and the building was recently erected.

If the building warrant is granted by Aberdeen council bosses then the final piece of the puzzle will be in place, and work on opening the new King Street Co-op can begin.

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

West End hairdresser

Queens Road massage studio

Illuminated advert sign in Fittie

Huntly top-up taps

Braemar cottage

Ballater bothy

St Cyrus cafe change approved 

Morningside Lane nursery

New King Street Co-op for Aberdeen plans