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Preparations for spectacular Cirque de Soleil at Macallan and flooding concerns at Buckie caravan park

Plans have also been approved to convert a former Bank of Scotland into a seven-bedroom home.

Macallan distillery at night with lights on inside.
Macallan is expecting to enthrall audiences with the Cirque de Soleil show. Image: Jason Hedges/DC Thomson

Whenever I tell people I trawl through the weekly list of planning applications looking for the best stories, people think it’s quite dull for some reason.

This week’s Planning Ahead for Moray certainly has a bit more razzamataz than usual though.

Renowned Cirque de Soleil are coming to the Macallan distillery on Speyside and are promising quite the show blending, unusually for Macallan, whisky and theatrical performances.

Preparations are beginning ahead of the event next month. This week we’ve also got the latest on a former bank finally being reoccupied again and flooding concerns at Strathlene Caravan Park in Buckie.

But without any more preamble, I know you’ll be desperate to hear about this Cirque de Soleil show at Macallan.

SUBMITTED: Macallan makes preparations for Cirque de Soleil

Macallan has applied for a building warrant to convert and alter one of their warehouses at their distillery into a “temporary event space”.

It’s ahead of the Cirque de Soleil shows beginning on Saturday, May 11 and running until Thursday, May 30 to celebrate the 200th birthday of the brand.

Entrance to Macallan distillery.
The event will begin inside the spectacular Macallan distillery before moving to the warehouse. Image: VisitScotland

The event promises an “experience like no other”, with an “exclusive sensory experience” featuring “breathtaking performances and intriguing stagecraft”.

Tickets for the two-and-a-half-hour show cost £200, and include a cocktail and a dram.

Macallan say the performances are taking place in an indoor location about a five-minute walk from the distillery itself.

Their website describes the show as: “This creative collaboration emerges from the shared belief that nature remains the ultimate immersive experience.

“A love letter to the natural realm of the Highlands, Cirque du Soleil Spirit is a call to reconnect with our natural world, and to raise a glass to this realm in which we are all guests.”

Cirque de Soleil on stage.
Cirque de Soleil perform in world famous venues across the world. Image: Matt Beard Photography

The initial building warrant from Macallan described the works as creating a “temporary event space”, but was later changed to converting the warehouse into a “building shell”.

Documents submitted to Moray Council have valued the work at £100,000.

OBJECTIONS: Flooding concerns over Strathlene Caravan Park plans

Sepa has submitted an objection to plans to expand the Strathlene Caravan Park on the eastern outskirts of Buckie.

John Sheridan has submitted proposals for an additional 20 residential caravans with associated hardstanding.

Drawings show the new plots would be interspersed with the existing ones with some at the rear, some to the west and some to the east.

Google Maps image of Strathlene Caravan Park.
There are flooding worries about adding 20 more plots to Strathlene Caravan Park. Image: Google

Sepa has this week submitted an objection to the plans due to worries some of the plots are on land “highly vulnerable” to coastal flooding.

However, the environment agency says it will remove its objection if four plots are removed from the proposals.

Moray Council’s flood risk management team has also objected due to the drainage statement “lacking the required information”.

Moray Council’s transport department has also submitted its views and has no objections.

We revealed the proposals last week.

APPROVED: Former Bank of Scotland to be converted

It’s been nearly eight years since the Bank of Scotland announced it was closing its branch in Fochabers, and the building has been empty ever since.

Now planning permission has been granted to incorporate the C-listed building into a neighbouring house.

Drawings show the customer area of the former bank branch will become a lounge while the former office and maintenance room on the ground floor will be converted into a gym. Bedrooms will be on the upper floor.

Bank of Scotland in Fochabers when it was open.
The former Bank of Scotland in Fochabers will be incorporated into a house to its right. Image: DC Thomson

The plans, submitted by Jemma Siddons, to create the seven-bedroom home also include demolishing an outbuilding, erecting an extension to the rear and removing a chimney.

While approving the plans, planning official Andrew Miller wrote: “On balance the proposed extension is considered to preserve the special interest of the listed building, bringing the former vacant bank back into use and will ensure its special interest is preserved for the future.”

Bank of Scotland confirmed more closures, including in Buckie and Banff, last month. 

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