Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner. Facebook Messenger An icon of the facebook messenger app logo. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Facebook Messenger An icon of the Twitter app logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. WhatsApp Messenger An icon of the Whatsapp messenger app logo. Email An icon of an mail envelope. Copy link A decentered black square over a white square.

New Aberdeen owner plans upgrades at late lawyer’s £1.3m Rubislaw Den North mansion

It's claimed that the magnificent property, previously the home of solicitor Frank Lefevre, had suffered water ingress.

Plans have been lodged for Braco House in Aberdeen.
Braco House in Aberdeen. Image: Clarke Cooper/DC Thomson

Aberdeen’s exclusive Braco Lodge is being done up following a £1.3m sale, the revamp of Macduff Marine Aquarium is ramping up and a derelict watermill near Huntly is becoming turned into a home.

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 to form changes big and small in our communities.

We start with those plans to breathe new life into the Huntly mill…

New lease of life planned for historic Huntly watermill

Placemill Mill at Forgue, outside Huntly, dates back almost 200 years.

The B-listed two-storey building, part of a rural farmstead,  has been gutted and the wheel removed since falling out of use.

The mill in its glory days. Image: Planning By Design

In later years, it has been used as a grain store.

Now, owner James Bowie wants to finally spruce up the derelict building – and turn it into a three-bedroom family home.

Here is how it looks today. Image: Planning by Design

Despite missing some of the roof, architects say it is “structurally sound”.

In documents sent to Aberdeenshire Council, they add: “It is considered that no harm will occur to the Grade B listed building as a result of the works.

“This sustainable development will contribute to enhancing, restoring and preserving the heritage asset’s special character.”

The building is overdue a bit of TLC… Image: Planning by Design

Tiny old school to become part of neighbouring home

Meanwhile, a few miles away near Aberchirder, a former school building could become extra accommodation for the house next door.

Randall Cundy, who lives at Dunslaven House, wants to build a new corridor linking from his home to the old Culvie School – which closed in 1967.

Blueprints show how the four rooms there would be used for storage.

The old school seen here tucked behind the home. Image: Google Maps

Culvie School became victim of council cuts

The final few years of Culvie School were hit by tragedy.

It was briefly closed following the death of a pupil, a six-year-old boy, from polio in 1954.

Six cases of polio were confirmed in the area. This cutting comes from the Dundee Courier. Image: British Newspaper Archive

Newspaper reports from the late 1950s indicate that the roll was lower than 20 children.

In April 1967, the Press and Journal confirmed it would be one of six Banffshire primaries to shut.

The nearby Marnoch and Netherdale closed alongside Culvie – with children going to a new building in Aberchirder (which has itself since been replaced).

The Press and Journal reported on the closures on April 26, 1967. Image: British Newspaper Archive

Despite anger from parents, it was argued that these small schools were proving too costly for the council to run – a news story which feels relevant at this point in time too.

Earlier this year, Aberdeenshire Council chiefs warned of the number of “half-empty” primary schools they pay to maintain – with possible closures looming on the horizon.

Shipping container could be turned into football stand

Over in Ellon, plans are being formed to turn a shipping container into a new football stand.

The proposals have been lodged by Ellon United FC, who have submitted examples showing how these huge units can be converted to contain dozens of seats.

The new stand would give spectators a sheltered spot to take in the games from. Image: Google Earth

It would be sited south of the team shelter beside the playing field at the town’s Meadows Sports Centre.

Unwanted offices could become bigger base for growing Aberdeen gym

Hush Private Gym currently operates from Bridge House, along Riverside Drive in Aberdeen.

But bosses say it now “requires a larger unit”, that can “accommodate its growth”.

Jake Poblocki from Hush private gym. Image: Supplied

And now they want to take over a two-storey office building on the city’s Hardgate.

It would operate as a one-to-one personal training gym – with limited members.

Hush say numbers would be kept to a maximum of four clients and two staff at any one time, as sessions would be held in private studios.

It comes after failed attempts to rent the 226 Hardgate address out as offices. 

The current building just off South College Street. Image: Google Maps
The new venue would offer more space. Image: Google Maps

‘Expansion will help more people to get fit’

Writing to the local planning department, Hush explain that the city has been left with an “abundance” of empty offices.

This former Securitas site has been vacant since 2020.

The Hardgate office complex. Image: Google Maps

One Hush gym member, Mary Maxwell, has already backed the idea.

In a letter of support to the council, she said: “The impressive service offered by Hush has helped many people improve their health and wellbeing.

“An expansion to bigger premises will help greater numbers at a time when we are encouraged to keep fit.”

New plans for Deeside B&B

The owners of Aboyne’s Struan Hall are seeking retrospective permission for changes made as they converted the late 19th century B&B into a home.

A string of internal alterations were carried out, and a new door added to the C-listed “substantial villa”.

The building on Ballater Road had been a B&B since 2012. Image: SIP Architecture Date

Applicant Steve Gardiner was not aware consent was needed before starting the work.

The project included widening a doorway, reinstating walls and turning a former bedroom into a kitchen.

Howdens plan for Banchory APPROVED

Earlier this year, the Press and Journal revealed plans for a new Howdens outlet in Banchory.

As well as the new hardware depot at the Banchory Business Centre, developers also unveiled proposals for three other units.

The new Howdens is planned for Banchory Business Park.
The new Howdens will open in the Banchory Business Park. Image: Gilbert architects

The other buildings would each be divided into five industrial spaces.

These plans were passed by the council at the end of May, and it looks like fans won’t have to wait too long for the hardware giants to appear.

Building papers lodged shortly thereafter spell out the costs of the project.

The units will cost a significant sum. Image: Gilbert architects

A warrant estimates the construction project to come in at £1.58m.

Howdens was founded in 1995 and has about 800 depots across the UK.

Macduff Marine Aquarium project progresses

Meanwhile, building documents reveal the first stage of a massive revamp of Macduff Marine Aquarium is priced at £3.5 million.

This initial phase of the overhaul will involve drainage and ground floor works, and other alterations as plans for a new cafe on the upper level take shape.

An artist impression of the Macduff Marine Aquarium expansion. Image: Aberdeenshire Council

Last month, our reporter Lauren Taylor visited to experience a day in the life of the Macduff attraction as it gears up for the new look. 

You can read more about the major revamp here.

Proposals to upgrade late Aberdeen lawyer’s former Rubislaw Den North mansion after £1.3m sale

Rubislaw Den North, in Aberdeen’s exclusive west end, has been nicknamed “Millionaire’s Row” over the years due to the pricetags attached to its plush properties.

Braco Lodge, at number 11, is one of the stunning street’s most notable gems.

braco lodge, mansion in aberdeen from the outside
Braco Lodge, a historic Aberdeen mansion built in 1928. Image: Anderson Bain
The large sitting room. Image: Anderson Bain

It was built in 1928 to the specification of Major Alexander Lyon – a director of the North of Scotland Bank.

The son of Aberdeen Provost from 1905-1908, Sir Alexander Lyon, the Braco Lodge resident joined the Gordon Highlanders in World War I and won the DSO serving in France.

He lived there until his death in 1973.

It went on sale in 1973. Image: The Scotsman/British Newspaper Archive

It was then bought by legendary Aberdeen lawyer Frank Lefevre, who lived there for many years until his death aged 88 last April.

The well-known legal luminary was responsible for introducing the no-win-no-fee culture to the UK during a six-decade career which saw him win many friends and admirers across both the profession and the city.

Popular city solicitor Frank Lefevre. Image: Kami Thomson/DC Thomson

Following his death, Braco Lodge went on the market for £1.3m last year.

And with only the two previous owners since being built by renowned architect Clement George, it sold this March.

Who bought Aberdeen’s Braco Lodge?

Documents submitted to the council state that the new owner is Steve Miller.

The home is on a prestigious city street. Image: Anderson Bain

Mr Miller, after acquiring the huge C-listed home, set about making some changes.

He wanted to add a new garage, a single-storey garden room, and carry out “various internal works”.

Work like this on a listed building would normally require prior approval, but his application form says the new owner had no other option but to get started.

Braco Lodge in Aberdeen’s leafy west end, seen from above. Image: Anderson Bain
A glimpse inside the property. Image: Anderson Bain

He says these works “had to commence due to being classed as unsafe”, after “significant water ingress”.

A report adds: “Some internal works have started in areas where there has been water damage.”

This design image shows how the new garden room would look. Image: Tinto architecture

How did damage occur at Braco Lodge?

A report on the state of the four-bedroom mansion’s windows explains that some were in poor condition.

Tinto architects say a rooflight on the second floor was “suffering from extensive leaks”, which damaged the building.

A view from the Braco Lodge balcony in Aberdeen. Image: Anderson Bain

They add: “Due to the ongoing damage being caused to the property, the above windows have been replaced like for like.”

Last year, neighbours on Aberdeen’s Rubislaw Den North became embroiled in a spat over a ‘Barcelona-inspired’ extension at a mansion

Covid memorial to pay tribute to city’s spirit during pandemic

Finally, we take a look at proposals to pay tribute to the lives lost and sacrifices made in Aberdeen during the coronavirus outbreak.

The council last year agreed on the idea of building the £100,000 cairn in Bon Accord Terrace Gardens. 

A sketch of the Covid memorial cairn planned for Bon Accord Terrace Gardens in Aberdeen. Image: George King Architects/Aberdeen City Council
A sketch of the Covid memorial cairn planned for Bon Accord Terrace Gardens in Aberdeen. Image: George King Architects/Aberdeen City Council

It will be constructed from upcycled local granite, with a locally commissioned poem engraved into the stone.

London-based George King Architects will build the statue.

The plans have now taken a step forward, with official documents submitted to the planning department.

There would be a paved area around the cairn. Image: George King Architects/Aberdeen City Council

What do you think of the design of the Aberdeen memorial cairn? Let us know in our comments section below

Granite to come from demolished Aberdeen buildings

The design team says granite was chosen as a “symbolic representation of the city’s
strength and endurance”.

They add: “The decision to reuse carefully preserved granite from demolished buildings in Aberdeen for the construction of the Covid memorial stands as a poignant and poetic symbol of sustainability…

“But also resilience, adaptation, and continuity—a reflection of the indomitable
spirit of the city and its people in the face of the pandemic.”

The towering statue would be a place for people to remember lost loved ones. Image: George King Architects/Aberdeen City Council

You can see the plans for yourself here:

Huntly watermill 

Aberchirder school building

Ellon football stand

Hardgate gym plans in Aberdeen

Straun Hall changes

Banchory Howdens update

Macduff Marine Aquarium update

Braco Lodge improvement plan

Aberdeen Covid memorial