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Farm shop plans for Alford town centre and row over exercise equipment at Portsoy loch

Meanwhile, hillwalkers are concerned about the new owner of Abergeldie Estate's new mansion next to Lochnagar.

25 Main Street in the centre of Alford
The Alford farm shop could open at a former nursery on Main Street. Image: Kath Flannery/Roddie Reid

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

Our latest instalment brings news of a potential boost to Alford town centre, with plans for a farm shop that would also sell a range of antiques.

Elsewhere, we shed more light on the new owner of Abergeldie Estate’s vision for the £23 million expanse.

But he could be facing an uphill challenge when it comes to a mansion next to Lochnagar, with concerns it could block a hillwalking path.

First, we have a look at how a pair of Aberdeen buildings could be revamped…

Ferryhill Tavern’s old lounge could become takeaway

Aberdeen-based Lionstone Investment Holdings want to transform an old Ferryhill building into a new takeaway.

Here’s the building in line for changes. Image: Google Maps

The 1 Bank Street premises is just around the corner from the Papa John’s pizzeria on South College Street, and hit the market for £88,000 last year.

It comes after a months-long roadworks project, which left neighbouring business furious about lost income.

Have a nose around the place:

The company would like to run the takeaway with accompanying kitchen on the ground floor, with a flat on the first floor.

But there’s no indication yet as to the type of fare the firm would like to sell.

The building was previously the Devanha Lounge, attached to the Ferryhill Tavern before it closed and was taken over by Papa John’s.

This image from 2010 shows the old bar restaurant in times gone by. Image: Emma Spiers/DC Thomson
Here’s how it looks today. Image: Denny Andonova

Torry photography shop could become cafe

A short distance away, a former Torry photography shop could be developed into a new cafe.

The old Ace Freelance and Son business at 105 Victoria Road went to auction this summer.

The shop on Victoria Road. Image: Google Maps

Now Aberdeen-based applicants Plov Makers Ltd, run by Zhanna Saparova, hope to transform it.

Blueprints sent to the council show how the unit could have space for 18 diners as a small cafe.

The unit has seen better days. Image: Google Maps

Peterhead school takes big step forward

Plans for a massive new Peterhead Community Campus have surged forward, with official papers seeking permission for the development.

Here’s how the community campus could look, with the town and its harbour in the background. Image: Aberdeenshire Council

The school would boast space for 600 primary school pupils, 1,400 secondary and 70 from the Anna Ritchie school for children with additional support needs.

And reports explain how the pink and green colour scheme was chosen to reflect the Blue Toon’s heritage.

Peterhead Community Campus is tipped to cost £71 million. Image: Aberdeenshire Council
Dales Park and Meethill Primaries will merge under the scheme. Image: Aberdeenshire Council

Documents state that the town’s “prevailing material” is red granite, from local quarries like Stirlinghill.

And some of these, now abandoned, are “often filled with greenish water”, which have “provided inspiration to the design architects”.

There would be an atrium at the entrance. Image: Aberdeenshire Council
These corridors look quite different to those many of us grew up with. Image: Aberdeenshire Council

Battle over plans to install outdoor gym equipment at Portsoy loch

Last week, Planning Ahead revealed the changes planned to turn a historic bakery in Portsoy into an art gallery.

Now, the town’s community council is hoping to help make residents the picture of health.

A chilly Loch Soy pictured last December. Image: Jason Hedges/DC Thomson

The volunteers want to install nine pieces of open air gym equipment at the Loch of Soy.

It would be based between the Scout hut and cycle path, and planning permission is needed due to the proximity to the historic hut.

‘I can have a short workout on my way to the Co-op!’

Many reacted positively when the community group announced the plans on Facebook.

One fan said they were looking forward to giving it a go, while another explained that such “excellent” kit had proven a welcome addition at Mintlaw’s Aden Park.

The park is just off the town centre. Image: Google Maps

And one resident joked: “A brilliant idea! I can have a short workout on the way to the Co-op in the morning! Must be something an 80+ year old can manage?”

Why are some locals fighting the plans?

But Aird Street residents Margaret Birch, Reuben Birch and Ruth Sanderson have submitted a formal letter of objection to the council.

They say the gym equipment will have a negative effect on the listed Scout hut, and nearby church.

Portsoy Scout Hut. Image: Darrell Benns/DC Thomson

And they add: “The loch and its surroundings are within a designated conservation area.

“The green space that it provides is an area where people enjoy its ambience when walking, riding, sitting peacefully, picnicking and observing the wildlife which includes the presence of bats.”

Would the sounds of keep-fit fanatics huffing and puffing on the equipment be enough to scare off a swan? Image: DC Thomson

Will kit be a ‘carbuncle’?

The trio note that such equipment could discourage wildlife from settling there, noting that a swan made the loch its home last winter.

Their objection also states that the keep-fit kit will “eradicate a large expanse of grass area where people enjoy walking, playing with their children and dogs”.

And the letter concludes: “The gym will have a detrimental effect on the beautiful vista of the loch area and could be described as a ‘carbuncle’ on the environment.”

New owner unveils plans for Deeside home

The new owner of a plush Aboyne property wants permission for an extension.

We described Littlewood as a “wonderful woodland home” when it hit the market for £700,000 in February. 

The Ballater Road building comes with five double bedrooms, and direct access onto the Deeside Way.

The property in question. Image: Ledingham Chalmers

Now, owner Judith Rotheram wants to create an extension.

The single-storey addition would form a one-bedroom annex, with its own living space.

A design showing how the new extension would look. Image: Tinto Architecture

Abergeldie Estate owner’s mansion ‘could cut off hillwalking route’

A few miles deeper into Deeside, the new owner of Abergeldie Estate has raised the ire of hillwalkers when it comes to major plans for a mansion next to Lochnagar.

In September, the 100th edition of Planning Ahead revealed that Alastair Storey had purchased the huge expanse, priced at £23 million.

The Abergeldie Estate is between Balmoral and Birkhall. Image: Fraser and Mulligan

The sale was the first time it changed hands in 500 years.

Most notably, the change brought an end to the royal family’s exclusive domain over hunting rights – which members had enjoyed since the 1800s.

Westbury Street Holdings chief executive Alastair Storey. Image: DC Thomson

Fyvie-born food industry tycoon Mr Storey was unveiled as the owner as he lodged proposals to build his own mansion there.

He wants to flatten some rickety steadings, using the stone to build his own “principle house”.

Architects say the grand home would have a feel of “restrained elegance”.

The principle house would look like this. Image: Yiangou

What are the complaints about?

However, not everyone is happy about it.

Patrick Heron, the former director of The Scottish Traditional Skills Training Centre, is urging the council to reject the plans.

The Dinnet resident says he has visited the Bovaglie buildings on the Abergeldie Estate “on scores of occasions during the last 30 years”.

And he thinks the proposed mansion there would be “entirely out of context” – looking more like it belongs in “the Surrey stockbroker belt”

The steading that would be knocked down. Image: Yiangou

Do English architects have ‘little knowledge’ of Scottish countryside?

Mr Heron writes: “The present setting of farmhouse and traditional steading lies happily in the landscape, open as it is to the south for many miles.

“The proposed new quite inappropriately designed mansion would demonstrably detract immensely from the settlement’s setting.

“I note that the architects responsible for the proposed designs are in Cirencester – the design they have produced demonstrates little or no knowledge of traditional or vernacular Scottish houses.”

The site, with Lochnagar in the background. Image: Yiangou

Meanwhile, the Cairngorms National Park Authority says there is a “popular recreational route” running through the site.

They say: “We would recommend that public access be safeguarded by either ensuring public access along the track is protected, or an alternative route around the development provided.”

Plea to ‘maintain tradition’ of walking route

Kingswells-based hillwalker Ken Thomson, from The Cairngorm Club, raised a few issues.

He says the “long-standing hillwalking club” regularly organises walks from Glen Girnock to Deeside via the proposed site.

The estate covers acres of land. Image: Fraser and Mulligan

Mr Thomson is asking that public access be maintained along the current track.

He worries that any alternative “bypass route” would require some engineering, and wouldn’t be as “pleasant” or “natural”.

And Logie Coldstone’s Anthony Comerford added: “Having walked in and appreciated this area for over 40 years, we are keen that this tradition is maintained for the enjoyment of all.”

What else is happening at Abergeldie Estate?

Mr Storey’s accompanying plan to turn farm buildings nearby into a base of operations for hunting are progressing.

The scheme, at Clachanturn Farm, has now been approved by Aberdeenshire Council.

Building papers estimate that the new larder and storage units will cost £200,000 to build.

The buildings at the farm. Image: WCP Architects

And proposals to enhance some more of the estate’s 34 properties are also surging ahead.

Plans to alter and extend the 19th century Balnacroft Farmhouse have been approved, while a scheme to “modernise” its C-listed Kennels building is awaiting a decision.

Documents on the latter state: “The proposal involves refurbishing the cottage to bring it up to the required standards, in terms of thermal performance and energy efficiency.”

Balnacroft Farmhouse. Image: WPC architects
What the interior currently looks like. Image: WPC architects
The Kennels could be transformed, with an accessible shower built on the ground floor. Image: WPC Architects

Pittodrie Street car wash

In Aberdeen, a new car wash could be opening up on Pittodrie Street.

Developer Goran Sabir wants to run the new facility at an unused industrial site between student flats and the Big Manny’s Pizza takeaway.

The site on Pittodrie Street would have separate vehicle entrances and exits. Image: Ben Hendry/DC Thomson

The site was previously a yard for the William Nicol haulage and storage firm.

Alongside the wash bay, there would be cabins for customers and staff.

Could new farm shop be opening up in Alford?

Finally, we look at plans to bring more people into the centre of Alford.

Nicola Sanderson wants to turn an after-school club in the heart of the Donside town into a new farm shop – also selling “gifts, antiques and fine art”.

The building at 25 Main Street. Image: Kath Flannery/DC Thomson

The old Alford Day Nursery is just off Main Street.

It comes after the building was sold in May, having been put on the market in 2021.

Alford farm shop would ‘add to rich and diverse offering’

Ms Sanderson hopes the new venture will “encourage residents to shop locally”.

It would be next to the W&R Murray store in the town. Image: Kath Flannery/DC Thomson

Papers submitted to the council add: “We know that offering local/Scottish and farm produce is desirable for visitors and tourists to an area, and can compliment the tourism offering.

“Likewise by also offering good quality antiques and fine art, one can add to the rich and diverse offering already in Alford’s Main Street.

“Encouraging people to buy antique/re-purposed furniture is to be encouraged in a ‘throw-away’ society and supports the spirit of striving for a more sustainable society.”

The farm shop could bring the best in local fare to Alford’s Main Street. Image: Kath Flannery/DC Thomson

The documents also cite a “town centre health check” carried out in the Donside community last September.

It reveals that many people said they wanted “more variety” in the main shopping area, with a particular shortage when it comes to antiques.

What do you think Alford town centre needs? Let us know in our comments section below

New Alford farm shop could ‘plug gap’ left by lack of local markets

The papers state: “Alford has been without an antiques shop for several years but historically has been served by such a shop.

“Talking to residents suggests these were popular and supported by locals and visitors alike.

“In addition, the report suggests that there is an appetite within the village for some kind of additional provision for farm produced/local produce.”

Could pies like these ones from the nearby Wark Farm in Cushnie be sold at an Alford farm shop? Image: Andy Morton/DC Thomson

And while many were keen to see a farmers market established, this could “plug that gap” by “sourcing a variety of locally produced goods such as found in regional farmers markets”.

There could be more to come, too.

The applicants say the “generous outdoor space” at the shop could lend itself to tasting sessions, cookery demonstrations, gallery nights and art talks.

There could be “generous outdoor space” to the rear of the proposed Alford farm shop. Image: Kath Flannery/DC Thomson

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

Ferryhill takeaway plans

Torry shop takeover

Peterhead school plans 

Portsoy park gym equipment 

Aboyne extension

Abergledie Estate row

Clachanturn plans approved, Balnacroft Farmhouse and Kennels

Aberdeen car wash

New Alford farm shop plans