Cafe plans placed on hold for site visit

The former Helping Hands shop could be transformed into a new cafe
The former Helping Hands shop could be transformed into a new cafe

A former charity shop in Ellon town centre looks set to be converted into a new cafe bar if councillors give plans the go ahead.

Plans for the vacant retail unit at The Square, which was formerly Helping Hands, went before the Formartine Area Committee on Tuesday (June 5).

Councillors discussed the proposals which asked for permission to change the use of the site from retail to a cafe.

Local brewery firm BrewDog was rumoured to be creating a new bar at the site, however they have asked for the owners of The Coffee Apothecary in Udny to set up a new cafe in Ellon town centre.

Speaking at the meeting, Jonny Aspden of The Cafe Apothecary said: “There are lots of cafes and bars in Ellon but this is different. It’s something new for Ellon and for us it’s very exciting.”

Council planners had suggested that the proposals be granted, however following discussions, councillors will carry out a site visit following concerns over access to neighbouring properties and locations of waste bins.

Councillor Richard Thomson said: “I find this application difficult, I’m in favour of seeing new and vibrant companies in the town centre but I have significant concerns regarding the waste bins - how many will be there and will residents be able to get out of the lane safely?”

Cllr Isobel Davidson added: “I also find this difficult, it’s good to have something different and to have it be open later is good.

“However I have concerns about it being located in what is a largely residential area.”

Fellow councillor Anouk Kloppert added: “I don’t have any big problem with the application but I do have concerns regarding local access and waste disposal, I think that a site visit would be beneficial.”

The plans received 16 representations from members of the public - three of which were in support and 13 objected.

Objectors raised concerns including a lack of parking, increase in noise and said the cafe bar would be detrimental to surrounding residents.

A site visit is expected to be carried out shortly and the final decision is set to be made at the next meeting of the Formartine Area Committee.