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Millionaire US owners want to add ‘five star’ rooms and craft shops at Kildrummy Inn

And Brew Toon's plans to take over an Aberdeen pub have been approved!

A derelict steading could be turned into Kildrummy Inn shops and 'five star' rooms.
A derelict steading could be turned into Kildrummy Inn shops and 'five star' rooms. Image: Clarke Cooper/DC Thomson

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

We bring you this week’s instalment on what has been termed “Blue Monday”, said to be the most depressing day of the year.

So there are a few items in here designed to put a smile on our readers’ faces – with plans to transform an Aberdeen pub approved, a major expansion of the quaint Kildrummy Inn to include shops and even a new chipper in Ellon.

Elsewhere, a former political heavyweight is keen to do up his Aberdeen garden…

Ellon could be in for double serving of new fish and chip shops

At the turn of the year, Aberdeen’s Sea Salt and Sole fish and chip firm expanded into Ellon by taking over the former Zanre’s in The Square.

Zanre’s has since changed hands. Image: Google Maps

Now it appears that residents in the Aberdeen town could be in for a double helping…

Fresh plans for the former TSB bank nearby at 34 Bridge Street indicate that fish fans might soon be spoiled for choice when it comes to suppers.

The former Ellon TSB branch on Bridge Street. Image: Kirstie Topp/DC Thomson

The documents sent to Aberdeenshire Council don’t give much away when it comes to who is behind the scheme.

But the papers state that they want to “convert it to a fish and chip shop”, and blueprints show a fryer in the revamped unit.

This shows how the inside could be transformed. Image: Mantell Ritchie

There’s also a pizza oven planned for the space.

The site has something of a history since the bank served its final customers during the pandemic.

Sava Estates had put forward plans to turn it into a diner in December 2022.

The bank could finally have a new lease of life. Image: Kirstie Topp/DC Thomson

But those proposals were scrapped last summer, leaving the prominent vacant unit in limbo. 

It was thereafter advertised to rent for £20,000 per year.

Helicopter base to get bright blue makeover

Now we go from frying to flying with plans to give the Bristows Helicopters base in Dyce an eye-catching makeover.

The Bristow HQ at Aberdeen International Airport. Image: Chris Sumner/DC Thomson

Architects say they want to “provide an enhanced and uniform frontage to three joined buildings at the Forties Road site.

There’s a mix of terminals, offices and lounge space for passengers inside.

Here is how the building could be transformed. Image: GWS Architects

Bristow has had a presence in the city since 1967, when it entered the North Sea market.

It’s the largest employer at Aberdeen International Airport and takes more than 400,000 passengers to offshore platforms every year.

Do you reckon it’s an improvement? Image: GWS Architects

Plans for ‘garden room’ at former MSP’s Rubislaw Den South home

Scotland’s former deputy first minister, Nicol Stephen, has lodged plans for his property on Aberdeen’s leafy Rubislaw Den South.

Mr Nicol in the heat of battle at the Scottish Parliament in 2006. Image: Fraser Bremner

Mr Stephen, 62, occupied the senior government role from 2005 to 2007 and also served as Minister for Enterprise and Lifelong Learning.

The former Scottish Liberal Democrats leader was elected as an MSP in 1999 and his career in politics lasted until 2011.

Mr Nicol became interested in renewable energy during his time in politics. Image: David Cheskin/PA

At that point, the Aberdeen native joined the House of Lords.

Mr Stephen is now on the board of several offshore wind firms, and chief executive of Flotation Energy.

What are the plans for politics veteran’s home?

Now it looks as though the prominent figure is planning to spend a bit more time enjoying the spacious garden of his west end address.

The seven-bedroom Edwardian villa at 22 Rubislaw Den South was sold for £1.2 million in 2019.

The impressive abode. Image: DC Thomson

And the new plans are for a “garden hut” at the bottom of the yard, along with a larger room just up from it.

The garden room looks like it would have space for exercise machines, furniture to relax on and a patio.

The area where the new additions would be built. Image: Nicol Stephen
Here’s how the garden room could look. Image: SIP Arc Ltd

Mr Stephen will be hoping to avoid the sort of spat that broke out over a “Barcelona-inspired” extension nearby on Rubislaw Den North last year.

George Stewart became embroiled in a lengthy dispute over his plans for work in the garden, which was finally approved at a council meeting in December.

Bakery could become takeaway in Torry

The former Shake, Waffle and Roll on Aberdeen’s Abbotswells Crescent could be in line for a new lease of life.

The now-vacant unit. Image: Jackson chartered surveyors

Rannoch Properties Ltd has submitted proposals to adapt the vacant unit, nestled between Abbotswell Pharmacy and a McColl’s shop.

They want permission to designate it as a takeaway.

Pennan sign could highlight local history

Locals in the quiet seaside village of Pennan are eager to install an information board telling the story of the historic fishing community.

Pennan sits at the bottom of steep cliffs. Image: Jason Hedges/DC Thomson

The aluminum plaque would be made by the council and affixed to a wall near the north-east harbour.

The community council is behind the initiative, and says the board would replace a weathered model taken down more than a decade ago.

The board would be on a wall close to Pennan Harbour. Image: Jason Hedges/DC Thomson

It would feature vintage images of Pennan throughout the years, with explanatory text.

There would, of course, be a section on its starring role in beloved Scottish comedy Local Hero.

Brew Toon pub plans approved!

Local beer connoisseurs will be more than familiar with the delights of Peterhead’s Brew Toon range – boasting moreish mango, pineapple and sour cherry bottles among its colourful output.

Brew Toon is sold at outlets across the north-east. Image: Scott Baxter/DC Thomson

All the way back in the summer of 2022, the company unveiled plans to move into Aberdeen by opening its own craft beer pub in the former Malt Mill.

The Holburn Street bar has lain closed since 2016, along with its Downstairs music venue.

The Malt Mill on Holburn Street. Image: Chris Sumner/DC Thomson

Brew Toon’s plans to spread its premises across the ground and lower ground floors.

They said it would be “an exclusive craft beer bar, offering high quality locally brewed craft beers as well as ciders, wines, spirits, soft drinks and street food.”

Brew Toon co-owner Cammy Bowden. Image: Scott Baxter/DC Thomson

And the company also sought permission to create three flats to the rear of the building.

The plans, which have been brewing for some time, indicate the venue would be known as the Brew Toon Malt Mill.

The Brew Toon plans include three luxury flats to the rear. Image: Cumming and Co

There followed months of wrangling with council officials over certain aspects of the project, as the “luxury” apartment designs were tweaked.

Environmental health bosses finally agreed to measures designed to limit any cooking smells or noise from affecting the new flats about a year on.

And now, the planning department has rubber-stamped the ambitious overhaul.

How the new Brew Toon Malt Mill could look. Image: Cumming and Co.

Officers say it would “contribute to the vitality of the area” by bringing the long-empty pub back to life.

Kildrummy Inn shops and new rooms plans formed

The Kildrummy Inn, a charming countryside restaurant tucked away in rural Donside, has a history stretching back to the early 19th century.

In recent years, the spot just off the A97 near Alford has undergone a few renovations with a new whisky bar and more opulent dining area.

Kildrummy Inn shops plans have been lodged
The traditional sign outside. Image: Kath Flannery/DC Thomson
The new dining area. Image: Kath Flannery/DC Thomson

And now, bosses are forging more plans to secure a bright future for the historic coaching inn.

They want to alter and extend a redundant former farm steading next to the business, turning it into “short-stay holiday accommodation”.

The site as it looks today, with the steading next to the restaurant. Image: LDN Architects
Here is how the steading could be transformed. Image: LDN Architects 

It would be converted into five double bedrooms.

Meanwhile, the courtyard would be used as retail spaces, with new Kildrummy Inn shops offering craft goods.

It could also stage events like produce markets. Image: LDN Architects 

Who is behind Kildrummy Inn shops project?

The proposals have been lodged by the director of Kildrummy Estates Ltd, Amanda Nelson.

She works for the multi-millionaire owners of the picturesque 5,600 acre expanse, Chris and Camille Bently.

The Kildrummy Inn plans could bring some new shops to the vast estate. Image: Savills.

The pair of mega-rich US socialites and arts supporters paid £11m for the land in 2020.

That means they own the Kildrummy Inn, which is leased to the business.

The Americans also own the ruins of Kildrummy Castle. Image: DC Thomson

Last summer, they put their ranch in Nevada up for sale after their move to Aberdeenshire.

The asking price was $90m, or about £70m…

So what are these Kildrummy Inn shops going to be like?

At the moment, the inn only has the four double bedrooms upstairs, and nowhere suitable for anyone in a wheelchair.

Architects say the new rooms created in the old steading would be of “five star” standard, with one accessible to visitors of all needs.

The rooms would have outdoor areas taking advantage of the smashing scenery. Image: LDN Architects 
Here is how they would look inside. Image: LDN Architects 

Design images show that the shops would be intended for use of local crafters, perhaps enticing day-trippers to pick up a souvenir along with their Sunday lunch.

And new support accommodation would be created too, with a rod store for guests keen to go fishing on the River Don and covered motorcycle parking.

There would also be changes to the layout of the car park carried out at the same time as the Kildrummy Inn shops revamp. Image: LDN Architects 

Electric vehicle charging points would be installed in the car park too.

Donside Community Council have backed the plan, welcoming the “investment being made and the economic and social benefits this will bring”.

The larger dining area has been created in a former drill hall. Image: Kath Flannery/DC Thomson

Read our review of the restaurant following its revamp here.

Are you in favour of the Kildrummy Inn plans? Let us know in our comments section below

Alford farm shop gets council go-ahead

And we finish with one last slice of good news, this time for Alford residents with a penchant for local produce.

Last year, Planning Ahead revealed proposals for a new farm shop, combined with an antiques store, in the town.

The plans are for the building at 25 Main Street. Image: Kath Flannery/DC Thomson

Nicola Sanderson has been given permission to turn the old Alford Day Nursery in the heart of the town into a new farm shop – also selling “gifts, antiques and fine art”.

When the scheme was formed, she said it would be “desirable for visitors and tourists”, while plugging a gap in the “rich and diverse” town centre.

The former nursery seen here from the rear. Image: Kath Flannery/DC Thomson

The plans have now been approved, and the applicant has revealed a few more details about her vision for the building…

Subsequent documents sent to Aberdeenshire Council explain that the farm and gift shop would be based on the ground floor, and named Farm and Fancy.

The antiques store would be on the upper level, and dubbed Ardtannies Antiques and Art.

‘Local shops offer a personal experience’

And she added: “We have over 10 years of experience in the food and drink sector, being both primary producers ourselves but also as retailers at farmers markets, events and selling at our home farm

“Local independent shops (such as what we are proposing) offer customers a more personal experience, which can be of real benefit to members of the community.”

The rear of the building is just across from the popular Grampian Transport Museum. Image: Wullie Marr/DC Thomson

She continued: “Whereas large retail chains can often be impersonal and rather sterile affairs, small shops offer residents the chance to engage with the retailer.

“The simple ability to stop for a chat can be of real social benefit to a whole
manner of residents, particularly those who might be isolated by the geography of
the area, age or personal circumstances.”

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

Ellon chip shop plans

Helicopter base

Rubislaw Den South home plans

Bakery to become Torry takeaway

Pennan sign

Brew Toon pub proposal approved

Kildrummy Inn shops plan

Alford farm shop gets go-ahead