Proposals to refurbish and extend Inverurie Town Hall lodged with planners
Proposals to refurbish Inverurie Town Hall and add an extension to provide office accommodation have been lodged by Aberdeenshire Council.
The development would involve refurbishing and improving access to the category B-listed town hall, along with the creation of a triangular extension to the rear of the building to bring Aberdeenshire Council services into the town centre.
The project would also involve diversion of the Overburn culvert, which is part of the Inverurie Flood Protection Scheme.
The extension would cater for up to 450 members of staff working on a flexible basis, allowing for the release of other council sites in the area. The building would provide space for a customer service point and registrar services, alongside general office space and meeting rooms.
The existing town hall would remain a community facility, with a new ramped entry and push pad operated doors providing better access, along with an internal lift giving access to the first floor of the building.
Inverurie Library would also remain in use, with the plans including the refurbishment of its exterior. And nearby a publicly accessible ‘changing places’ facility would be created in the extension, providing 24/7 access directly from the street.
As well as refurbishing the town hall, the project aims to make public services accessible for all in a central location and provide improved additional spaces for community use, while in turn increasing footfall in the town centre.
The council has also been working with Zero Waste Scotland to discuss sustainability considerations.
Public access would be available on the first two levels of the building, with office accommodation on the second and third levels. The highest part of the building would be a bold stair column and circulation area providing views of the striking town hall clock tower.
The site lies close to rail and bus services, with the development including cycle parking and locker space, as well as changing and shower facilities within the building for staff.
In terms of parking, five accessible spaces would be created on the main site and accessed from Port Road.
The Burn Lane car park would be changed to pay and display operation, and a further 39 pay and display places would be created at the former Marketplace School site, with provision for electric vehicles, and for council vehicles.
The existing council offices at Gordon House would be demolished to provide 100 free parking spaces associated with the new office.
A town hall user group was formed to support development of the proposals, particularly focusing on the community aspects of the development, and an external space user group was also created for discussion of the external aspects of the scheme.
The possibility of ‘reconnecting’ the town hall to the nearby war memorial garden was explored but does not form part of the proposals, although pedestrian space would be enhanced to allow for more recreational use. Access bus services would be retained in front of the hall.
Garioch Area Manager Ann Overton said: “Accessibility has been a key factor in discussions, both in terms of making it easier for people to make use of the community facilities in the town hall, as well as easy access to council services.”
Planners will now assess the proposals with a view to making a recommendation.