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Duncan’s of Banchory flats plan approved and new Fraserburgh statue revealed

Meanwhile, plans to turn a closed Huntly bank into a whisky shop are moving forward.

Duncan's of Banchory plans have been approved.
Duncan's of Banchory plans have been approved. Image: Clarke Cooper/DC Thomson

Plans to turn the old Duncan’s of Banchory into new town centre flats and shops have been approved, a new “fisherwife” statue could be built in Fraserburgh and a closed Huntly bank is becoming a whisky outlet.

All these and more feature in this week’s Planning Ahead, our weekly round-up of the latest proposals being pondered across the north-east.

Every week we bring readers a selection of the most interesting applications submitted to our councils in a bid to form changes big and small in our communities.

And after days of unwelcome April showers, we begin our latest instalment with plans to protect a historic church building from the elements…

Urgent action needed to protect historic church from damage

Kinellar Church, near Blackburn in Aberdeenshire, dates back more than two centuries.

And though it’s survived a lot, a recent flurry of fierce storms has proven too much for the 222-year-old roof to stand…

Kinellar Church near Blackburn. Image: Chris Sumner/DC Thomson

When did church become home?

The church closed in the early 2000s.

Plans to convert it into a five-bedroom home were approved in 2013 (under the condition a Pictish stone was kept on the site).

Owner Rob Parfitt moved in with his family years ago, and recently sought the council’s permission for changes to the B-listed landmark.

The building is within a graveyard. Image: Chris Sumner/DC Thomson

Mr Parfitt says he was already thinking of upgrading the lead and tin roof when Gerritt blew in last winter and made it a matter of urgency.

His application states: “As a result of the recent bad weather, and in particular Storm Gerrit, the roof’s condition has further deteriorated with the lead finish being blown off of one of the dormer window’s flat roof.”

Storm Gerritt hit Aberdeen and the surrounding area between Christmas and New Year. Image: Kenny Elrick/DC Thomson

The papers explain that it’s “essential” work is carried out “as soon as possible”.

Documents add: “The leaks and water penetration are already affecting the building and, if prolonged, will further detrimentally affect the fabric of the building.”

The council has now approved the plans.

Developers gamble on flats plan above Aberdeen casino

Meanwhile, in Aberdeen, plans to turn old offices above a city centre casino into flats have been sealed.

The casino building in Aberdeen. Image: Ben Hendry/DC Thomson

Developers MK Sipp Trustees rolled the dice on plans for Buchanan House in 2022.

Their scheme to turn the former home of Offshore Design Ltd into 10 flats has now been given the go-ahead.

The 9,447sq ft space has been empty for years and failed to attract any interest when offered up as “cost-effective offices”.

The house always wins? Housing plans for the building have been approved. Image: Ben Hendry/DC Thomson

Measures will be installed to protect residents from noise coming from the casino below.

It comes as work gets under way on a new block of council flats a short distance away on the Granite Mile.

Banff bank to tear out ATM as closure looms this summer

Banff’s Bank of Scotland will close at the end of July.

The controversial move was announced last month, with Ellon and Buckie branches shutting too this summer.

The bank building on Low Street. Image: Google Maps

Bosses are now seeking permission from the council to take down signage at the Low Street building in Banff, and rip out the ATM.

The B-listed address dates back to 1891, and was previously a property shop.

The signage will soon be taken down when the bank closes. Image: Google Maps

Papers say that one link to its past will remain, with the night safe left in
place “to show the heritage of the historic building”.

But revamp planned for former TSB in Huntly…

Perhaps Banff residents worried about the latest gap in the town centre can take heart from efforts to renovate a former TSB in Huntly…

Plans to turn the closed bank in The Square into a whisky shop appear to be progressing, with proposed signage indicating it will be known as The Spirits Embassy.

The building seen here about a year after the bank shut. Image: Jason Hedges/DC Thomson
Here is how it would be brought back to life. Image: John Wink Design

The plans date back to 2022, when Duncan Taylor Scotch Whisky first put forward the idea to breathe new life into the unit left empty since the TSB shut the previous year.

Previous plans for the venue showed how it would have a sales area on the ground floor and tasting room upstairs.

It’s at a prominent spot in the town centre. Image: Jason Hedges/DC Thomson

Later on in this week’s Planning Ahead we have plans for yet another closed north-east bank branch… 

Publishing boss wants home office overlooking picturesque pond

Meanwhile, on the outskirts of the town, Fiona Hill wants to create a home office with a bit of a difference.

While many of us may have a setup in the spare room, the corner of our sitting room or even the garden shed, she wants to build something a bit more special.

This new office would overlook a pond at the farm.

This might be a serene spot to work from. Image: Annie Kenyon architects

Plans submitted to Aberdeenshire Council show how the new structure would be built at Cairnargat Steading between the town and Haugh of Glass.

Fiona Hill is the founder of Finks Publishing and a former deputy design director with the Daily Telegraph.

It would have a small south-facing balcony overlooking the pond for tea breaks. Image: Annie Kenyon architects

Architect Annie Kenyon says the office would be used to support the applicant’s “publishing and professional ventures” for the design, copywriting and PR firm.

Accompanying studio space would “offer an expansive area for artistic pursuits”.

TK Maxx move progresses at Aberdeen shopping centre

Earlier this year, TK Maxx made plans to move from its long-standing premises at Aberdeen’s Union Square to make way for the expansion of Marks and Spencer.

But fans won’t have to look far to find the clothes shop in its new location.

TK Maxx at Union Square is on the move.
TK Maxx on the day Union Square opened. Image: Kenny Elrick/DC Thomson

It will be flitting just across the car park.

We revealed the new address will be at the units currently occupied by Dreams and Homesense.

Here is how the new two-storey TK Maxx will look. Image: Comprehensive Design Architects

And now, Aberdeen City Council has signed off on changes needed to make the flit happen. Planners noted they were relatively minor.

Under the plans, the Dreams doorway will be covered up so there is just one entrance to the store.

There will be a few changes at Union Square in the months ahead. Image: Ben Hendry/DC Thomson

Taylor’s of Torry coming back to life

A short distance away in Torry, new blueprints reveal that the cherished Taylor’s corner shop will be brought back to life as a Key Store.

Earlier this year, proposals to reopen the cherished part of the community back to life emerged.

Plans for a new convenience store in Torry have been lodged after the closure of Taylor's.
Plans for a new convenience store in Torry have been lodged after the closure of Taylor’s. Image: DC Thomson

Taylor’s closed last spring, marking the end of an era in the closeknit corner of Aberdeen.

The family firm had been going since the 1930s, with the Torry shop in operation since 1969.

Now, new blueprints show businessman Anil Grandhi will operate it as a Key Store.

The Taylors name would remain as a reminder of the past. Image: LAS Architecture

Fraserburgh could honour fishing past with new coastal statue

Fraserburgh could be about to get its own “fisherwife” statue to celebrate its rich fishing history.

Peterhead already has one in Fisher Jessie, and a similar model can be found near the beach in Nairn.

Further north, Wick residents last year unveiled their own towering reminder of the historic seafaring industry.

The Fisher Jessie pictured observing Covid rules during lockdown. Image: Darrell Benns/DC Thomson
The Seafarers Memorial at Braehead, Wick. Image: Sandy McCook/DC Thomson

The Fraserburgh statue, which would be called Broadsea Fishwife, is the brainchild of the Broadsea Hall Trustees.

The bronze monument would be located at a patch of ground overlooking the sea, just off Main Street.

It would be almost 6ft tall.

This shows how the statue would look. Image: Broadsea Hall Trust
The statue would be erected here. Image: Google Maps

Broadsea is a longstanding fishing community at the south of the Broch.

The statue would be close to the town’s heritage centre and Museum of Scottish Lighthouses.

Duncan’s of Banchory flats plan approved by council

Finally, plans to transform the old Duncan’s of Banchory building into new town centre shops and flats have been approved.

The proposal was lodged with Aberdeenshire Council in 2022.

There would be four flats on the first floor of the Duncan’s of Banchory building and one on the ground floor. Image: Craig Munro/DC Thomson

The Deeside institution moved from Dee Street in 2018, and the adjoining TSB branch shut last year.

Now the owners have launched new plans to prevent the building falling into “disrepair” – as three new shops with five flats in the floors above.

The building was offered for £400,000. Image: Craig Munro/DC Thomson

Why is it being split up?

Duncan’s of Banchory put forward the plans themselves after struggling to sell the building.

Architects explained they were unlikely to attract a taker for such a large unit, so bosses decided to split it up.

They suggested that three smaller shops could be perfect for independent retailers, with the five flats above also bringing more people into the centre.

Here is how the shops would look. Image: W9 design

What shops would you like to see take on space in the town centre? Let us know in our comments section below

What did the council say?

The council agreed that the massive retail space, in total 600sqm, would be better served as smaller units.

These, officials said, would “offer a more appropriate retail experience and allow a greater number of new opportunities for uptake”.

Rubber-stamping the Duncan’s of Banchory flats plan, they added: “Overall, the building is a prominent feature in the town centre and is currently deteriorating due to its lack of active use.”

The shop in happier times. Image: DC Thomson

Why did furniture shop move from town centre?

Duncan’s of Banchory has been part of the town for more than 50 years.

It now operates from larger premises on North Deeside Road.

Planning papers sent to Aberdeenshire Council explain the location at the busy junction eventually created problems with the delivery and unloading of large items.

You can see the plans here:

Church roof proposal 

Aberdeen flats above casino backed

Banff bank closing

Whisky shop latest 

Huntly office studio

TK Maxx move

Taylor’s of Torry update

Fraserburgh statue plan 

Duncan’s of Banchory flats scheme