Welcome to Planning Ahead – our weekly round-up of the latest proposals across the north-east.
This week’s instalment shines a light on the changing nature of the region’s religious buildings.
Last March, the Church of Scotland announced a radical shake-up amid dwindling income and shrinking congregations – with 20 north-east churches shutting.
Now we look at various new plans for some of the local landmarks.
In Aberdeen, worshippers have secured permission to salvage a historic font following the closure of a city centre kirk, while there’s a plan to turn another shuttered church into a huge home in Portsoy.
We begin this week’s round-up with similar proposals for the old Foveran Church, so pull up a pew and let’s get started…
Historic north-east kirk could become new home
The “charming” Foveran Church dates back to 1794.
A mile outside Newburgh, it’s just off the A975 road between the coastal village and Aberdeen.
Earlier this year, it hit the market for about £120,000 as the Church of Scotland went on a selling spree.
Now, Glasgow-based applicant Jade Kerr wants to turn the B-listed building into a new home.
Writing to Aberdeenshire Council, she explains how “dedicated” to the property project she is.
She writes: “I aim to keep as much of the character of the original church building as possible.
“My hope for the project is for it to become a much loved family home, whilst retaining the history and beauty of the original building.”
Cruden Bay Post Office plans
A few miles away in Cruden Bay, the village Post Office and store could soon be expanded.
IKS Developments have lodged plans to create a tw0-storey extension to the Main Street building.
The ground floor would create extra space for the shop, with another flat being formed on the upper level.
Portlethen cafe could become new pizza place and kebab shop
Over in Portlethen, the former Cafe Ness could become a new kebab shop.
Jack Sevinc has submitted the plans for Unit 6 at The Green.
Blueprints indicate there would be a pizza oven and charcoal grill on the shopfloor along with the kebab displays.
There would be seating for 20 customers, and a waiting area.
Could bathroom showroom open up next to busy Aberdeen roundabout?
A patch of wasteland next to Aberdeen’s notorious Haudagain roundabout could be transformed into a bathroom firm’s new showroom.
Porcelanosa, which has outlets all over the world, now wants to open up at a site they own on Great Northern Road.
The nearest branches are in Glasgow and Edinburgh.
Porcelanosa, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, claims to be the world’s “leading ceramic wall and floor tile company”.
The scheme is almost 20 years in the making, with the firm granted permission for a warehouse, office and showroom there all the way back in 2006.
Since then “requirements have changed”, and bosses aim to build a smaller showroom on the former site of the Vardy garage.
Here’s how the new showroom could look:
Tillydrone car park plans tweaked amid eco concerns
The council wanted to create the 19-space facility on the site of a flattened housing office on Formartine Road.
But the authority’s own officials rejected it, saying the land should be put to better use.
They said the car park would have “no substantive benefit for the neighbourhood”, while causing “conflict with climate crisis objectives”.
Now, revised proposals have been submitted – this time, for a smaller car park, with an accompanying service yard and “pocket park”.
Grocers helping out those who need cash in Inverurie
We may be living in an increasingly cash-free world, but Greens of Inverurie is looking out for residents who still prefer to do things the old-fashioned way.
The 13 North Street premises is seeking permission to move its ATM from inside the store to a spot at the front door.
Bosses say this will “provide a 24-hour banking facility for the local community and visitors to the area”.
And they have even consulted anti-crime gurus, to ensure any customers taking out cash will be safe at the spot.
Planning papers add: “The area where the ATM will be installed is in a well-lit open area in full view of pedestrians, aiding natural surveillance.
“There is external CCTV covering the shopfront and ATM area.”
Portsoy church home plan lodged
We complete our round-up with a look at another pair of changing churches.
Olivia Palmer has formed plans to turn the former Portsoy Church and Hall on Seafield Terrace into a massive property.
The building dates back to 1844, but became “surplus to requirements” in recent years.
When the Portsoy Church Centre reopened after being renovated in 2019, it became the main home of the congregation.
The St John The Baptist Church is now known as Aspire.
What do you think of this week’s plans? Let us know in our comments section below
Rosemount church font rescued following closure
Finally, the congregation at St Marks church in the Rosemount area of Aberdeen are doing their bit to save a piece of local history.
The final hymns rang out at the city centre spot this spring.
Displaced worshippers, led by Helen Burr, have since mounted efforts to rescue its granite baptismal font.
They hoped to have it safely stored in the city archives “before sale of the building”.
Papers sent to the council explain the move has been made as mystery surrounds what could happen to the 19th century venue.
They state: “The church is currently being marketed with an unknown future, donating this exquisite piece of granite would secure its future.”
However, the Architectural Heritage Society of Scotland objected…
‘Removing font could endanger St Marks building’
North-east representative William Brogden argued that the font “has no business at the city archives”.
The letter contended: “The proposed removal, to facilitate the sale of St Marks, far from protecting it, would further endanger the building and all its appurtenances.”
The council has now approved the removal of the monument.
Officials say there is “little realistic prospect” of the building returning to religious use.
That included scores of framed pictures, bibles and even crucifixes.
You can see this week’s plans for yourself using these links:
Portsoy church changes