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Donmouth office could become coastal dream home and chip shop plans at St Fergus

Developments in Stonehaven and Banchory also feature in our first round-up of 2024!

Donmouth home plans have been formed for this office.
Donmouth home plans have been formed for this office. Image: Kenny Elrick/Clark Cooper

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

First off, happy new year! Hopefully our January 1 instalment will be a welcome way to start off 2024, whether you’re planning a bracing walk or simply nursing a sore head.

And we begin with plans that could resemble something from one of those movies you always get on TV at this time of year.

Proposals to rescue a sacred item from a church might bring to mind the rollicking adventures of Indiana Jones. Though this crusade is taking place in Foveran, rather than any exotic temples of doom.

Later on we will look at how a distinctive architect office could become a new Donmouth home in Aberdeen, and reveal plans for a new St Fergus chipper.

Plans to save religious relic…

Sorry to disappoint. It’s not Harrison Ford behind this one, but rather the Church of Scotland’s legal department.

Towards the end of 2023, Planning Ahead featured proposals to turn the 18th century Foveran Church into a new home.

Foveran Church in Aberdeenshire and its graveyard
Foveran Church went up for sale for offers of more than £125,000. Image: Saltire News/Church of Scotland

But before that can happen, a very special slice of local history needs to be taken from its home of several hundred years.

Chief among the kirk’s “treasury of remarkable monuments” is the medieval Turing Slab. 

The Rev Stuart Wallace looks at the slab, otherwise known as the Crusader Stone, in Foveran Church in 1983. Image: DC Thomson

What’s that then?

The stone formed part of the Turing Aisle of the medieval church which existed on the site before the present building was erected in 1794.

It was named after John Turing, who was a Charles 1st supporter and taken prisoner by the Covenanters.

The huge slab. Image: Church of Scotland

The slab depicts two knights, thought to have died in battle either at Harlaw or on a crusade to the Holy Land.

Given its importance, permission is being sought to move the item from the church to Aberdeenshire Council’s museum storage site in Mintlaw.

It’s the north-east equivalent of this famous hangar from Raiders of the Lost Ark:

How do you move a huge, heavy, historic stone?

The papers contain an intricate level of detail on how the hefty object would be safely transported… It is precious cargo, after all.

The museum’s technician, curator and conservator would be involved, along with an “experienced stone conservator” to shift it from the kirk.

The church interior. Can you spot the Turing Slab? Image: Church of Scotland

An “appropriate contractor” will assist with the packaging and securing of it, with “lifting equipment” and plenty rolls of bubblewrap needed.

People can then visit the stone when it’s in the museum centre.

And as part of the council’s collection it could be exhibited at venues like the nearby Farming Museum at Aden Park or even further afield.

If the name Turing seems familiar… Yes, code-breaking computing pioneer and World War II hero Alan Turing has Foveran links and is a relation.

Actor Benedict Cumberbatch as Alan Turing in The Imitation Game. Image: Black Bear Pictures

Courtyard clean-up planned at historic Stonehaven building

Meanwhile, the volunteers who look after the Tolbooth museum in Stonehaven want permission to spruce up a neglected courtyard.

The Stonehaven Tolbooth Association run what is the town’s oldest building. Image: Kath Flannery/DC Thomson

The seaside venue dates back to the late 16th century, serving as storage rooms, a sheriff court and a prison over the many years.

It has been looked after by the Stonehaven Tolbooth Association for more than a decade now.

King Charles and Queen Consort Camilla (then Duke and Duchess of Rothesay) being welcomed by Association Chair Cressida Coates at a private visit to the museum in October 2019. Image: Stonehaven Tolbooth Association

Along with displays inside, they like to use old courtyards to showcase traditional skills – with things like net-mending, lace-making and wool-spinning sessions.

They now want to bring a “neglected and overgrown” inner court back into use to expand their offering.

The overgrown area could soon be enhanced. Image: Stonehaven Tolbooth Association

Volunteers want to pave it over with stone slabs, and widen the entrance so that wheelchair users can get in.

Historic Environment Scotland has raised no issues with changes to the A-listed building.

The derelict space. Image: Stonehaven Tolbooth Association

Millionaire businessman gets to build studio in Banchory garden

Over in Banchory, plans for a studio in the garden of a million-pound mansion have finally been approved after a spat with neighbours…

Back in March, the owner of Waterstone House put in plans for a new art studio and raised decking in his spacious garden

Waterstone House at The Mews in Banchory. Image: Kenny Elrick/DC Thomson

It came after he bought the huge home along The Mews for £1.1 million – and the 850 metre Banchory Fishings stretch of the Dee for £1.35 million along with it.

But his neighbour Alistair Thomson, who lives next door at Eastwood, objected.

He argued that the art studio would “grossly affect his privacy and view”.

The home comes with a huge garden space. Image: Kenny Elrick/DC Thomson

By the summer, the plan was withdrawn.

However, in late September, revised proposals were put forward.

The cabin (with its own shower room, tea point and bedroom) has now been approved by Aberdeenshire Council – with no objections this time.

Here is how it would look. Image: Cumming and Co Architects
The hut would have its own double bed, shower and art table. Image: Cumming and Co Architects

Village shop could become new chipper and ice cream parlour

Now there’s some good news for fish and chip aficionados in St Fergus…

Plans have been formed to open up a chipper (and ice cream parlour) in the old village shop on Links Road.

Suppers like these tend to go down well with north-east diners. Image: Scott Baxter/DC Thomson

The plans have been lodged by  Allison Sherrington.

But as it’s just off the A90 trunk road between Fraserburgh and Peterhead, roads chiefs are keen to get more information on it before it can be approved.

The old village shop. Image: Google Maps

Home ‘of little quality’ in Aberdeen’s west end to be flattened

The developers who own Maryfield Lodge, on Aberdeen’s Fonthill Road, want to demolish the property to make way for a three-storey home.

It comes as owners the Cater Group work on plans to transform the neighbouring former East Maryfield care home into dozens of flats.

East Maryfield Care Home on Fonthill Road. Image: Darrell Benns/DC Thomson

Architects say the “cottage style” house is “of little architectural quality” and won’t be much missed if flattened.

They add: “Overall the cottage itself is very much of inferior quality and scale when compared to the manse buildings to either side.

“The building is not in a particularly poor condition itself, although there is already
some evidence of issues in upkeep of the property due to it having lain empty for
various long periods over the years.”

The lodge is behind this wall on Fonthill Road. Image: Google Maps
Maryfield Lodge. Image: Create Studio Architecture

Donmouth home plans formed for architects office

A former architects office along the Aberdeen coast could be transformed into a Donmouth home under new plans.

The 38 Donmouth Road address was built as a radar school in 1961.

The office could be the ideal conversion project for any big golf fans. Image: Kenny Elrick/DC Thomson

It has been home to the David Murray Associates architect firm for the last 30 years.

But its five-strong workforce embraced working from home during the pandemic, and even since restrictions lifted the building has rarely been used.

Papers sent to the council state: “It is felt that these modern working methods will continue, so the building will no longer suit the practice’s needs going forward.

“The small, detached office building is situated in a unique location at the end of Donmouth Road.”

The property would come with stunning views across the city. Image: Kenny Elrick/DC Thomson

How could building be transformed into Donmouth home?

The architects admit that the exposed coastal location has “taken its toll” on the building.

They say it would be in need of “fabric repairs and energy efficiency improvements to bring it up to modern standards”.

It’s one of many old Aberdeen office buildings left redundant after the pandemic changed working patterns. The Donmouth home plans could bring it back to life. Image: Kenny Elrick/DC Thomson

The building could be adapted to form a three or four-bedroom house, with the spot overlooking Aberdeen Beach a particular selling point.

Designers say the home would “have an attractive and distinctive character in this very special location”.

Elderly neighbour worried about possible demolition amid Donmouth home plans

However, one neighbour is worried that it might need to be knocked down – with a new house built on the spot.

Dee Foster, who lives next door, wrote a letter of objection to the council.

The house is just yards from the beach at the Donmouth. Image: Alastair Gammack

She said: “While I have no objection to having a house next door to my semi-detached property I am really concerned about the amount of dust demolition will create.

“I am 83 years old but still mobile and have no intention moving elsewhere in the
foreseeable future.”

Donmouth surfing cabin approved after show of support

Meanwhile, on the other side of the estuary, there’s some relief for surfing instructor Campbell Scott.

Last month, we revealed how he had spent £16,000 on a cabin near Aberdeen Beach – only to then be told it would need planning permission.

The Scot Surf cabin. Image: Ben Hendry/DC Thomson

You can read all about the saga in our December 4 instalment, including the show of support from locals keen to see the business thrive.

Now, the council has given Mr Scott permission to keep the cabin along the Donmouth Estuary.

The cabin can stay… Until December 2025, that is. Image: Ben Hendry/DC Thomson

Officials have granted it temporary consent to stay there for two years, encouraging the instructor to look into an alternative spot in that time.

They say: “Due to the nature of the business, which rents out watersports equipment and provides lessons in the adjacent water, it is considered that for logistical reasons, a coastal location is necessary.

“However, the applicant has not demonstrated that there is no other suitable site in the immediate surrounding area.”

And you can see this week’s plans for yourself here:

Foveran kirk

Stonehaven courtyard

Banchory studio

St Fergus chip shop

Maryfield Lodge demolition

Donmouth home plans lodged

Surfing cabin at river