Welcome to Planning Ahead – our weekly round-up of the latest proposals across the north-east.
This week’s instalment reveals the worries of Stonehaven worshippers as they fight plans for a “noisy” car wash they fear could spoil the sombre silence of funerals just yards away.
There are also updates on plans to fill two empty shops on Aberdeen’s Union Street.
But we start with the prospect of some old Bridge of Don steadings being turned into new homes.
New houses on outskirts of Aberdeen
The owners of Tarbothill Farm want to convert the nearby Berryhill Farm at Bridge of Don into six new houses.
J&AF Davidson have put forward plans to transform redundant steadings at the site overlooking the coast – and neighbouring Murcar Golf Links.
Their architect, Annie Kenyon, says: “In retaining the existing buildings, the character of the site is retained.
“The designs look to combine old and new to create a grouping of homes which are modern in spirit and yet rooted in tradition.”
The properties would range in size between two and four bedrooms.
Former Ellon shop to be taken over by ‘homeless’ martial arts group
Meanwhile, in Ellon, locals have rallied behind a martial arts group as a legendary sensei plans to make an empty shop his new base.
Campins TaeKwon-Do has been granted approval to do up 71A Station Road, which used to be Grays clothes shop and haberdashery until it shut in 2018.
It comes after the club’s previous home, Castlepark Community Centre, closed down.
Martial arts instructor Jamie Campins started training in TaeKwon-Do in 1987, becoming a black belt four years later and competing on the international stage until 2012.
Papers sent to Aberdeenshire Council explained the group’s need for a “safe, accessible and fit for purpose” space.
The statement continues: “Availability of suitable hall space in Ellon is very limited.
“In terms of size and layout, we believe that the proposed property is ideal. It is located in the centre of Ellon where ample parking is available.
“The property is within walking distance of several schools, allowing opportunities for schools to access the facilities should they wish to.”
Locals get behind Ellon institution
Plenty of people urged the local authority to approve the plans.
Ellon mum Laura Cantlay wrote: ” My twin boys do TaeKwon-Do with Campins and love it! The community needs something like this in the town centre.”
Sarah Bansal adds: “My daughter has been attending for five years and Campins has taught her manners, discipline and respect…
“Something that a lot of other kids (and adults) in Ellon would benefit from.”
Martial arts club has thrived despite the odds
Dad Ian Chilton said the idea will “lead to the rejuvenation of an empty building in Ellon, increasing footfall and spend”.
Singing the club’s praises, he added: “Despite everything the last decade has thrown (socially distanced outdoor training when allowed during the pandemic!) this club has been very successful.”
And Claire Tawse said it “would give teenagers something to do”.
Perhaps fearful of raising the ire of martial-arts daft youngsters, the council has now given the plans the go-ahead.
Deeside Way could be expanded with new link to Braemar
Company director Chris Rogerson wants to form a new path “with a similar style and
standard of construction” to most of the current route from Aberdeen to Ballater.
The firm says the scheme follows “significant consultation” with the Cairngorms National Park Authority, Aberdeenshire Council, Invercauld Estate and locals.
New unisex toilets at historic hall famed for unique interior
Nearby in Royal Deeside, the National Trust for Scotland has now tabled proposals for its stunning Stag Ballroom.
The space is festooned with 2,430 stags heads dating from the 1800s to 1932.
It comes amid overall plans to “upgrade the hospitality” within the estate, and “safeguard many of the buildings’ future uses”.
In this case, that means adding extra toilets to the B-listed ballroom used for wedding receptions and ceilidhs.
Papers state: “The hall itself functions well, however the toilet facilities within the smaller northern block are dated and require refurbishment.”
In addition to the existing disabled, male and female toilets, a lobby area could soon be turned into two unisex loos.
Vape shop plans snubbed by council
Now, we turn to Aberdeen city centre, and we start with ill-fated proposals to do up a vape shop – which have now gone up in smoke.
Applicant Lucia Racanelli wanted to install an illuminated sign – which would jut out from the front of the 51 Union Street VPZ outlet.
The C-listed building, which has been run as a vape shop for more than seven years, was formerly an Alliance and Leicester bank.
Historians say the block is a “good early example of a row of classical tenements”.
Planning chiefs didn’t think the glowing signage was such a bright idea.
They say the addition would affect the “attractive features”, such as surrounding granite columns.
A stern official responded: “The proposed sign obscures and pays little regard to the original granite frontage.
“It uses inappropriate materials which are not respectful to the character of the listed building.”
Do you have any thoughts on the number of Union Street vape shops? Let us know in our comments section below
Major Jamieson and Carry plans move forward
Meanwhile, recent visitors to the Granite Mile may have noticed some work taking place on a multi-million-pound expansion of Jamieson and Carry.
The scheme involves both the former All Saints shop next door and the empty unit across the Belmont Street junction being upgraded.
Work on the latter, which is due to become Aberdeen’s first Tag Heuer boutique, has now been given the official seal of approval by planning bosses.
That means that new signage can now be installed, as the eventual opening approaches.
Tag Heuer, a Swiss firm, dates back to 1860.
At the moment, its range is available in Jamieson and Carry – with prices going up to about £7,000.
Read more on plans for the boutique here.
Chaiwala gets ready to splash out on Indian street food shop
The proposals to transform the former Mostyn Mackenzie shoe shop were welcomed by campaigners striving to turn around the street.
Our Union Street group leader Bob Keiller said: “Aberdeen needs more restaurants and cafes, and Union Street needs to fill empty retail units.”
It looks like the plans to start serving up the likes of samosa burgers and spicy Mumbai macaroni could now be inching closer to reality.
Now, a building warrant freshly submitted to the council reveals the food firm is planning to spend £150,000 renovating the former shoe shop.
Chaiiwala dates back to 1927, when its founder started selling tea on the streets of New Delhi.
It’s most famous for its varieties of Karak chaii tea.
You can have a look around the empty unit here:
‘Noisy’ Stonehaven car wash ‘could disturb funerals’ at church next door
Documents sent to the council by owners Motor Fuel Group Ltd explained that this would mean knocking down a pair of trees at the Dunnottar Avenue site.
But it’s been met with further complications…
Worshippers worry over Stonehaven car wash disturbing funerals
Paula Fogiel wrote to the council on behalf of St James Episcopal Church, which is based nearby on Arbuthnot Street.
She says the car wash bays could worsen flooding problems at the site, and raises concerns about trees already having been felled.
And she is calling for the scheme to be rejected as it could worsen families’ grief at sensitive times…
The objector continues: “The church and church hall are in regular use with many groups using the hall on a daily basis.
“The church is open daily, but used also for weddings and funerals.
“We would not wish to have these disturbed by excessive noise of not only the water power, but extra traffic and footfall.”
‘Continual hum’ would be too close to properties
Nearby resident Christine McKay says: “The ground would be continually saturated with water and chemicals from car washing, which would be more hazardous in the colder months
“Plus the disturbance from the continual ‘hum’ of the machinery in close proximity to neighbouring properties until late into the evening.”
Colin Cameron, from Dunnottar Avenue, is concerned that an influx of added traffic into the petrol station could pose safety issues.
He thinks it will “increase the likelihood of further damage to the boundary wall”, telling the council it was partially destroyed last year when struck by a vehicle.
Company accused of having ‘little interest in the people of Stonehaven’
And Douglas Samways, from nearby Man’s Hill Avenue, argued that previous plans to develop the site were withdrawn due to noise affecting nearby properties.
He adds: “If it was too noisy then, it is too noisy now.”
The resident blasted the Hertfordshire-based applicants as a “large organisation based elsewhere with little interest in the people of Stonehaven apart from the potential to make them more profit”.
Noise experts have say: Will car wash really affect Stonehaven funerals?
However, experts from Hepworth Acoustics were commissioned by Motor Fuel Group Ltd to see if the noise will really be all that noticeable.
Noting that the jet wash bays would only be in operation during the day, they say there will be “no unacceptable noise impact”.
And the council’s roads department has raised no objections.
You can see this week’s plans for yourself using these links:
Plans raise fears over Stonehaven car wash affecting funerals