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Persley Castle Care Home ‘could have to close’ over narrow windows and gasworks housing plan in Stonehaven faces backlash

Meanwhile, a new pizza parlour will be coming to King Street in Aberdeen!

Plans have been lodged to enhance Persley Castle Care Home.
Plans have been lodged to enhance Persley Castle Care Home. Image: Roddie Reid/DC Thomson

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

Our latest instalment reveals a row over new housing plans at a former Stonehaven gasworks, which local leaders fear will cause a traffic nightmare.

And nearby, the owner of the town’s famous Carron fish and chip shop is battling to stop a new bistro opening around the corner.

Elsewhere, it turns out it could be curtains for an Aberdeen care home amid fears that its “narrow windows” let in too little light.

This, bosses say, could mean Persley Castle Care Home doesn’t meet the strict standards necessary to remain open.

Hotel’s hall could become home

First, we venture into the Aberdeenshire countryside to find out about plans at a historic inn.

The function hall at Tarland’s Aberdeen Arms Hotel could soon be turned into the village’s newest home.

The Aberdeen Arms Hotel in the heart of the village near Aboyne. Image: DC Thomson

Owners George and Shona Robertson, of Aberdeen Arms Ltd, want to create the two-bedroom house just off The Square.

The B-listed country inn dates back 300 years.

Broadstraik Inn plans move forward

Meanwhile, on the outskirts of Westhill, plans to revive a different venue are gathering pace.

A few months ago, the Press and Journal revealed that the owners of Aberdeen’s Dutch Mill had taken over the closed Broadstraik Inn at Elrick.

Work began at the site this summer. Image: Darrell Benns/DC Thomson

It seems that work is coming along, with the bosses holding a recruitment day at their Granite City spot at the end of September.

And a new Facebook page showing some design images of how the interior will look has already amassed thousands of followers.

In the meantime, papers have been lodged with Aberdeenshire Council seeking permission for new signage at the roadside institution.

The signs would help let passersby know about the relaunched venue. Image: Darrell Benns/DC Thomson

Newmachar mill could be turned into homes

Over on the outskirts of Newmachar, businessman Rob Ingram wants to transform a disused mill into a new house.

Alongside that, a steading and other farming buildings would be knocked down to pave the way for four other homes.

And a cycle path would be created leading from the five-property scheme at Brownhills to nearby Newmachar – estimated to be just a five-minute pedal away.

The farm buildings at the spot near Newmachar. Image: CTA Scotland Ltd
A disused old barn that could make way for one of the homes. Image: CTA Scotland Ltd

The site used to play a role in the operations of Elrick Estate, housing animals and machinery along with providing a place for workers to live.

But it has become largely redundant over the years, and has “deteriorated significantly”.

How the new plot would look. Image: CTA Scotland Ltd

Papers sent to Aberdeenshire Council state: “Brownhills, in its current state, is becoming an increasingly dangerous site.

“The majority of the building group would be unsuitable and uneconomic to develop as a tradition conversion.”

The mill remains fit for such a revamp, however, as it’s in “fair condition”.

Nosheen tandoori changes

Changes at Ellon’s Nosheen tandoori, first revealed in Planning Ahead last December, have now been rubber-stamped by Aberdeenshire Council.

Nosheen’s of Ellon is located on the town’s Bridge Street. Image: Google Maps.

The waiting area will now be turned into a separate takeaway, with a new entrance specifically for people picking up something to eat.

Internal works include getting rid of the bar there, and building a new kitchen.

Scroll back and forth to see the new layout:

It comes after we reported that new owners were taking over the business in April.

Alford developers disputing £80k payment towards medical centre

The developers behind plans for 55 new homes in Alford are attempting to change the terms of the deal they struck with Aberdeenshire Council.

In late 2021, elected members voted in favour of the Kirkwood Homes plan at Castle Road.

It came despite objections from dozens of locals, and the nearby owners of Balfluig Castle – who said it “would erode the character of Alford”.

Balfluig Castle near Alford. Image: Chris Sumner/DC Thomson

And Cushnie-based aristocrat Brigid Gabriel Forbes-Sempill, daughter of the 19th Lord Sempill, fumed that Alford’s services “could not support more residents”.

It was with concerns like these in mind that the local authority imposed a series of stipulations on the project.

What rules did the council impose?

One condition was that Kirkwood Homes would have to pay towards “an extension to Alford Medical Practice or other such facility” serving future residents.

That would come in the form of £1,466 per unit – a total of more than £80,000.

How the new homes would look. Image: Kirkwood Homes

But now Kirkwood Homes wants to wipe out this part of the agreement.

Papers sent to the council argue that an extension isn’t actually necessary – and never was.

Consultants for the developer argue that even the added population from the development wouldn’t be enough to justify it.

King Street pizza parlour to go ahead

Plans to turn a former William Hill betting shop on Aberdeen’s King Street into a pizza parlour have been passed by planning chiefs.

The former bookies poised for the transformation. Image: Ben Hendry/DC Thomson

Last summer, La Fiamma took over another former bookies on Torry’s Victoria Road.

They want to repeat that success at the new destination at 188 King Street.

The old shop has been closed for some time. Image: Ben Hendry/DC Thomson

Council planning bosses say that measures proposed to control smells from the unit are appropriate and people upstairs won’t be affected by noise.

They say the takeaway, next to a chicken shop and across from a Pizza Hut, would “reinstate an active street frontage”.

Would new Stonehaven bistro add to parking problems at port?

Meanwhile, developers could be facing a harder time getting permission for a new bistro in Stonehaven.

A few months ago, Planning Ahead detailed the proposals for the former James A Bruce printer and stationer building on Cameron Street.

The building just along from the Citizens Advice Bureau. Image: Heather Fowlie/DC Thomson

Chipper owner raises concerns

Lorraine Watson, from the nearby Carron chip shop, has written a letter of objection.

She worries that about an increase in delivery vans and lorries, which “already cause big problems” for buses on the narrow road.

Carron Fish Bar and Bucket and Spade owners Lorraine and Charlie Watson. Image: Paul Glendell/DC Thomson

And the businesswoman asks where the venue will keep its bins, with “no room at the back of this building for this” and the street “already cluttered”.

The frier extraordinaire adds: “This would be better developed into residential in my view.”

The old printers. Image: Google Maps

Neighbour fighting bistro plans

And Lewis Faryma, who lives in a flat above the proposed venue, is also unhappy.

He says the “narrow alleyway” is already crammed due to residents needing three bins of their own.

Mr Faryma writes: “Food premises generate significant volumes of waste, yet it is unclear how such facilities (bins etc) are going to fit and be manoeuvred in this tight space.”

Aberdeenshire Council rolled out bin changes this summer. Image: DC Thomson

Could smells lure rats to the street?

The letter of objection adds: “Smells may also become an issue and attract vermin to the area.

“The affected property is located on a very busy section of Cameron Street due to the proximity of a good number of residential properties, the beach, the Carron chipper (a very popular establishment), an ice cream shop, Farmfoods car park and more.”

The bistro would be near the beach and harbour, both popular spots with day-trippers… Image: DC Thomson

Mr Faryma continues: “In addition, this section of road sees regular heavy goods lorries delivering to Farmfoods and the Carron.

“Whilst we would welcome the rejuvenation of this property, adding another establishment of this type will simply compound existing issues.”

Plans for housing at contentious Stonehaven site nearby

And just a few yards away, plans have been lodged for a new housing development.

The former Cowgate gasworks site has something of a contentious past, with Scape Homes having plans for a care home there shot down two years ago.

Here’s how the fenced-off site looks now. Image: Wellwood Leslie

On that occasion, councillors scrapped the 57-bedroom blueprint because it could cause traffic problems in the busy area.

Now, fresh applicants are hoping their plans fare better.

Alderman Group want to create four three-bedroom houses there, along with one two-bedroom property and six two-bed flats.

The site in question could be quite lucrative. Image: Wellwood Leslie architects

They say this will be “designed to meet affordable housing requirements”, and “cater to a diverse range of residents”.

Papers add: “The aspiration is to positively regenerate this dormant site in a premium location into a defined, high quality residential community.”

The developers say the former gasworks is a “premium location”. Here’s how the new homes would look. Image: Wellwood Leslie architects

But Stonehaven and District Community Council is urging the council to refuse it.

Chairman David Lawman lists worries about “additional traffic in a busy area that is already congested”, and the “little open space” available.

And due to its past use as a gasworks, the council’s contaminated land experts say investigations should be carried out at the spot.

Former home of Original FM to be torn down

Aberdeen City Council has signed off on plans to demolish the birthplace of Original 106.

The station on Craigshaw Road, in the Tullos area. Image: Ben Hendry/DC Thomson

The scheme, discussed in more detail in Planning Ahead this summer, will see the disused building torn down to make way for a new car showroom.

Original 106 moved to Marischal Square in 2019, after 12 years at the site.

The curved section will be torn down. Image: Ben Hendry/DC Thomson
How the replacement will look. Image: McLaren, Murdoch and Hamilton architects

Approving the change to a Seat Cupra showroom, council planning chiefs stipulated that parking spaces for staff should be created first.

Veteran broadcasters told us they would be sad to see the small slice of history go…

Bosses fear closing Persley Castle Care Home

Aberdeen’s Persley Castle Care Home dates back to the late 18th century, when it was built as a stable block for the nearby Woodside House.

Persley Castle
Persley Castle Care Home is located in the Woodside area of Aberdeen.

The fortress-like building along the banks of the Don was later used as boarding for printing apprentices at the Woodside Cotton Works, and then formed the HQ of the local River Purification Board.

It’s now a particularly striking care home, looking after 40 residents.

But operators Renaissance Care are seeking to make some improvements, explaining that its picturesque appearance can come with some practical problems.

The building has been a care home for decades. Image: DC Thomson

Papers submitted to Aberdeen City Council say the narrow windows of the B-listed Mugiemoss Road building don’t make for ideal living conditions.

Renaissance bosses want to enlarge them, to comply with Care Commission “requirements”.

They explain that, should they not meet this standard, the care home “would have to close”.

The narrow windows in question affect rooms 16, 17, 18 and 19.

Changes would secure future of Persley Castle Care Home

Documents state: “The small ‘slit’ windows were originally decorative defensive openings which are clearly not suited to providing the rooms within the building with the appropriate level of lighting and visual amenity.

“The existing stonework will be sensitively managed, altered and tooled using the granite stones which exist.

“And the works will be carried out by a qualified stonemason experienced in dealing with listed building projects.”

They say these changes, if approved, would ensure the “long term viability” of the building while making interior rooms “more usable”.

The application follows a damning inspection in June, which found residents were repeatedly neglected – left dehydrated, injured and unable to speak.

During the inspection, the team discovered several people had fallen a number of times and suffered “significant injuries”.

City planners have recommended Renaissance is given listed building consent to make the windows larger – despite protest from Scotland’s heritage quango.

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

Aberdeen Arms Hotel plans

Broadstraik Inn latest 

Newmachar houses

Nosheen tandoori latest

Alford developers backing out of health payment

King Street pizza parlour approved

Bistro plans for Stonehaven town centre

Plans for new Stonehaven homes

Original FM base demolition

Persley Care Home faces closure unless window plans approved