One of the world’s biggest coffee shop chains could open up a drive-through near one of the north-east’s busiest roads.
South Fornet Estates Ltd is seeking the support of Aberdeenshire Council’s Garioch area committee for plans to build a Starbucks off the A96 Aberdeen to Inverness road, in Blackburn.
Planning officers have backed the proposals, despite the development being contrary to the Aberdeenshire local development plan (LDP), and councillors will be asked to do the same next week.
The proposals, neighbouring Blackburn Business Park, include both seating and a drive-through facility.
There would also be a play area and car parking with space for 24 vehicles, as well as motorcycles and bicycles.
A local consultation on the coffee shop was held on August 23 of this year, and received one formal objection highlighting concerns around potential littering and traffic impact.
The council said the applicant had responded to the issues raised during the public meeting and added a Starbucks would “improve the attractiveness of the site”.
Senior council planner, Bruce Strachan, said: “The applicant has engaged with the planning service and with the local community prior to the submission of this application which is welcomed.
“The supporting information shows a proposal that has responded to comments and attempts to deliver a well-conceived and attractive contribution to Blackburn, which currently lacks local services and facilities.
“The points raised in the objection have been considered but none are so significant to warrant refusal of the application.”
He added the council’s planning service had accepted the Blackburn spot had “been a challenging site to attract suitable employment uses to”.
The cafe would be open from 6am until 10pm every day.
The committee will discuss the plans on Tuesday.
A design statement within the planning application states the cafe is “likely” to be taken on by Starbucks.
It adds the development would be “bright and welcoming” in a community which has a “lack of facilities”.
A Starbucks spokeswoman said: “We’re always looking at new opportunities to reach more customers, however we have no news to announce regarding a store opening in Blackburn at this time.”