It was saved from demolition at the eleventh hour and now a prominent Peterhead building could be transformed into a guest house, bar and restaurant and day spa.
The former North School, later Glenugie business centre, could house multiple new businesses if a change of use submitted to Aberdeenshire council planners yesterday is given the thumbs-up.
Councillors had discussed demolishing the building, built in 1877, this summer but accepted in principle a purchase offer to save the building earlier this month.
Now developer John Adam from Peterhead-based Azeri Ecosse has applied to the local authority to completely transform it.
Outline proposals, drawn up by Mintlaw-based Baxter Design, have been submitted as part of the application which, if approved, could be followed by a more detailed planning application.
The application states Azeri Ecosse hopes “to allow the premises at the old Peterhead North School to be used for residential and business purposes.
“The proposed use includes a guesthouse, office, public house/restaurant, function suite and day spa,” it adds.
Plans, meanwhile, show details of four separate business units and a home.
One such business could comprise a bar, main lounge with two separate seating areas to the side, a cold store and cellar, kitchen, staff toilets and storage.
To the front of that eastern wing, it’s proposed a second business unit could house a day spa offering three treatment rooms, a Turkish baths or sauna and a visitor reception and changing areas.
Attached to the rear of potential main bar business unit, but with the option of its own main entrance too, could be a unit offering a large function suite, bar, kitchen and customer toilets.
The main front of the oldest part of the building, meanwhile, could be turned into a home or future guest house, comprising four bedrooms, two bathrooms, kitchen and lounge areas across the two-storey building.
Attached to that would be the final business unit which may offer five offices and associated vestry and toilet facilities.
Azeri Ecosse is a newly-registered limited company only set up last month, with its stated interests being licensed restaurants, public houses and bars and other human health activities.
Members of the Buchan area committee discussed a sale to that firm behind closed doors earlier this month.
Peterhead councillor Stephen Calder later told us he couldn’t comment on any planning application that would follow, but described the proposals as a “win-win situation” for the town.
“The building is going to be saved and used,” Mr Calder said. “It will hopefully provide extra facilities for the town.
“It is a win-win situation.
“As a local historian I very much wanted to keep the building. It is a magnificent piece of architecture.”
The former North School closed in 1981 and was used as a private music school until 2017.
It has cost the local authority in the region of £37,000 each year in holding costs since 2017 and was originally placed on the market for £450,000 last year.
Buchan area committee chairman councillor Norman Smith previously urged residents to be patient and warned any development would take time.
He said: “We are under no illusions as to the scale of any potential development of these premises and I would urge patience within the community to enable the purchaser to formulate their plans.”