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Portsoy church could become huge dream home and new bath showroom at Haudagain roundabout

Meanwhile, a closed Portlethen cafe might be reborn as a kebab shop.

To go with story by Ben Hendry. Planning Ahead Picture shows; Portsoy Church. Portsoy. Supplied by Mhorvan Park Date; 06/11/2023
To go with story by Ben Hendry. Planning Ahead Picture shows; Portsoy Church. Portsoy. Supplied by Mhorvan Park Date; 06/11/2023

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.

The quaint Foveran Church. Image: Church of Scotland

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.

The building would require some internal changes. Image: Church of Scotland

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.”

The large space inside. Image: Church of Scotland

Cruden Bay Post Office plans

A few miles away in Cruden Bay, the village Post Office and store could soon be expanded.

The plans would make use of the space next to the Main Street building. Image: Google Maps

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.

A blueprint showing the changes. Image: IKS Developments

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.

The Green hosts a few takeaways. Image: Google Maps

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.

This shows the layout of the new venue. Image: Creative Studio Architecture

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 patch of land, just off the road down to Tesco. Image: Porecelanosa

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:

The unit would be accessed from Mugiemoss Road. Image: Porcelanosa
The chain has had its eye on the spot for more than 15 years. Image: Ben Hendry/DC Thomson
Porcelanosa has branches all over the world. Image: Porcelanosa
The plans come after work to improve the neighbouring bottleneck. Image: Porcelanosa

Tillydrone car park plans tweaked amid eco concerns

Earlier this year, Planning Ahead reported on how proposals to create a new car park in Tillydrone were thrown out.

The Formartine Road car park in Tillydrone. Image: Ben Hendry/DC Thomson

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.

The car park could be in line for a new look. Image: Ben Hendry/DC Thomson

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”.

Here’s how the razed site could be rejuvenated. Image: Aberdeen City Council
A closer look at the proposed park. Image: Aberdeen City Council

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.

The town centre grocery store. Image: Greens of Inverurie

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.

Here’s where the cash machine would be installed. Image: Greens of Inverurie

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.

It comes after the historic building was put on the market for just £60,000. 

Portsoy church home plan
The Portsoy Church home plan could secure the building’s future. Image: Church of Scotland
Here’s the huge space inside Portsoy Church, amid the new plan to turn it into a home. Image: Church of Scotland

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.

Portsoy’s upgraded church centre. Image: Ian Whewell

It comes after another closed Portsoy church reopened as a restaurant earlier this year.

The St John The Baptist Church is now known as Aspire.

Aspire is a standout example of how a church can be reborn. Image: Jason Hedges/DC Thomson

Last week, Planning Ahead revealed plans to open a new tattoo parlour in a former church in Aberdeen’s west end.

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.

Last year, the Church of Scotland announced plans to close the distinctive building.

The final hymns rang out at the city centre spot this spring.

William Wallace seems to be pointing to the grand granite frontages of the buildings on Aberdeen’s Rosemount Viaduct – including the Central Library, St Mark’s Church and His Majesty’s Theatre – in this picture believed to be from the early 1900s.

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”.

The font seen here as Cults Academy Choir perform at a Christmas concert in 2016. Image: Kath Flannery/DC Thomson

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.”

The building as it looks today. Image: DC Thomson

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 font at a police service in 2018. Image: Colin Rennie/DC Thomson

The council has now approved the removal of the monument.

Officials say there is “little realistic prospect” of the building returning to religious use.

Meanwhile, hundreds of items from the church went under the hammer in September.

That included scores of framed pictures, bibles and even crucifixes.

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

Foveran Church plans

Cruden Bay Post Office

Portlethen cafe

Haudagain roundabout showroom

Tillydrone park plans

Inverurie ATM

Portsoy church changes

Rosemount church font