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New life for eyesore Forres garage in form of three businesses and more homes planned at Bilbohall in Elgin

The latest Moray planning round-up is here.

Unused car garage will be given multiple new uses.
Unused car garage will be given multiple new uses.

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

In April, we revealed how steadings at Greencraig Farm near Buckie could be transformed into a cafe and play zone.

Now the cost to transform the steadings has been revealed.

This week, councillors on the planning committee gave the go-ahead for the transformation of eyesore buildings on Elgin’s South Street.

The local authority has submitted revised proposals for phase one of the Bilbohall development in Elgin which aims to reduce the house waiting list.

We begin our latest instalment with approved proposals to transform an eyesore disused Forres garage into three businesses.

APPROVED: New life for Forres garage

The Pedigreed Cars building at 3 Bogton Place in Forres was once a busy car dealership serving the town and beyond.

Since its closure, the site has been empty.

In 2021, Liam and Eileen Wood of Glenburgie Cars purchased the building with a vision to give it a new lease of life as a potential business centre.

The building is no stranger to Liam as he served his time as an apprentice at the Citroen dealer.

Unused car garage earmarked for new uses.

In December, we revealed their original proposals to split the property into four businesses.

S Reid Design represented Arul Palaniappan in the planning process.

What was originally proposed?

Unit one

It will be a convenience store which offers a wide range of food, drinks and household items and would provide Forres and surrounds with a much-needed facility.

Opening hours for the store will be from 7am until 10pm, seven days a week.

Unit three will be used for storage.

It will be similar to the New Elgin store which is owned by Mr Palaniappan.

Unit one A 

It will be a hot food takeaway which will operate from Monday to Sunday, midday to 10pm.

Details about what type of food they would serve is still to be revealed.

Unit two

It will be a classic car business run by Highland Classic Car Hire. Providing a rental service for days out, weddings and other events. The opening hours will be Monday to Friday from 10am to 4pm.

Unit four

Earlier this year, Matz Rayner fulfilled his lifelong dream by opening a motorcycle retail and repair shop called Mr Motto with his partner Nicole.

It is the first motorcycle garage in Forres.

This unit has already been approved under planning.

The original plan for transformation of former car garage in Forres.

It is hoped the overall proposals will help serve people in the town as Forres continues to expand especially towards the south.

Firms including Springfield Properties have built hundreds of homes over the years.

What has changed?

Revised site plan which has been approved.

Now the transformation of the eyesore building has been approved by planning chiefs.

The proposed hot food takeaway has been removed from the plans.

It comes after concerns about the impact of the takeaway.

The unit previously earmarked for the takeaway has been added onto the shop to house storing spaces and an office.

And now unit three will be unused.

While retrospective consent has been granted for a small free standing structure which operates as a barber shop in the southern part of the site.

SUBMITTED: New purpose for steadings

Greencraig Farm.

In April, we revealed Greencraig Farm at Drybridge near Buckie wanted to breathe new life into steadings.

There are already luxury camping pods, caravan and camping pitches and shop at a site near the farm.

Walter Mackenzie is looking to transform the buildings into a cafe and play zone.

Plans Plus is representing him in the proposals.

Ground floor for facility.

This is an extension to the existing tourist facility which has proven to be popular.

Since opening, the need to provide additional facilities for food and entertain children has been discovered.

The plans are still awaiting approval.

Now according to a building warrant, the transformation of the steadings could cost around £50,000.

APPROVED: Junners and Jailhouse redevelopment

The run down former site of the jailhouse nightclub in elgin
Look inside Jailhouse. Image: Sandy McCook/DC Thomson

In December, Moray Council, development partners Robertson Property Limited (RPL) and UHI Moray revealed the plans which included the redevelopment of the former Junners toy shop, the Newmarket Bar and the Jailhouse nightclub.

The Moray Growth Deal is supporting elements of the project, while £18.3m Levelling Up Fund cash will also contribute to the redevelopments.

Homes, a business enterprise hub for new and growing businesses and additional units for shops were included as part of the vision.

Our coverage about the Jailhouse.

We exclusively revealed more details about the plans.

Earlier this year, architects Oberlanders lodged the proposals on behalf of RPL to planning officials which will include a business hub, three retail units, 38 flats across five blocks and a courtyard.

Five buildings will be demolished as part of the redevelopment with the exception of a C listed archway at the entrance to the former Junners toy shop which will be retained.

All the other buildings involved have been empty for sometime, apart from 53-55 South Street which is currently occupied by Elgin Furniture & Carpet Centre.

Looking up at the front door of former Junners toy shop in Elgin, which is part of the South Street regeneration
Former Junners store will be demolished, however listed facade to be retained. Image: Jason Hedges/DC Thomson

What is the latest on the South Street redevelopment?

South Street. Image: Sandy McCook/DC Thomson

On Tuesday, councillors on Moray Council’s planning committee approved the proposals.

Robertson Group CEO Elliot Robertson says the regeneration of Elgin’s South Street will return economic benefit and life to the town centre.

He said: “We have been actively involved in bringing this project from concept to reality for a number of years as a result of the complexities around the site assembly due to multiple land ownerships.”

SUBMITTED: Number of homes in Elgin housing development increasing

Artist impression of Bilbohall housing.
Construction at Bilbohall could begin as soon as next year. Image: Collective Architecture.

The number of homes being proposed for the first phase of the Bilbohall housing development in Elgin could be increased.

Moray Council already has permission for 84 properties at the grassy ground near The Wards and Elgin High School.

However, now fresh plans have been submitted to increase that number to 106.

Designers say the increase is needed to help meet the growing housing shortage in Elgin and surrounding area.

How big is the Elgin housing problem?

The wider Bilbohall masterplan extends to the railway line and behind Elgin High School. Image: DC Thomson

The Bilbohall development is being spearheaded by Moray Council and Grampian Housing Association to bring in more affordable homes to rent in Elgin.

As of March, the council had 3,318 applications on its waiting lists with just 465 new tenancies created through the whole of 2022/23.

What are the changes to phase one?

Changes include reducing the number of proposed detached homes and bungalows and replacing them with semi-detached and terraced homes.

One three-storey block of flats has also been introduced to the revised plans, which are planned for a site at the end of Edgar Road next to Elgin High School’s playing fields.

If approved, Collective Architecture say construction could begin as soon as next year.

The local authority is solely responsible for phase one.

Are you going to be submitting plans to give new life to a building or expand their shop? Get in touch at

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