Taking a trip down memory lane

Young female is writing notes and planning her schedule.
Young female is writing notes and planning her schedule.

In this week 20 years ago, an ambitious £2million scheme to turn Ballater Station and Square into a tourist centre won full backing from Aberdeenshire Council’s Marr Area Committee.

The plan is to transform the station, square and surrounding area into a major tourist attraction.

The council’s backing, which came at the area committee meeting, has been welcomed by Bill Houston, chairman of Ballater Royal Deeside, the community firm which is spearheading the project.

It is hoped finance for the project will come from private, public and Lottery Heritage funding to the tune of £1million, with the rest coming from European funding.

To gain Objective 5b cash, the project must have the backing of the local council.

The old station buildings currently belong to Aberdeenshire Council and before any redevelopment work can start, more than £150,000 of work would need to be carried out to the wooden buildings, which are in disrepair.

There are currently five tenants in the buildings - a filling station, a flower and gift shop, a hairdresser, restaurant and store.

A consortium of consultants looked at the feasibility of the station project three years ago.

According to their analysis of visitor figures, such a scheme would be feasible and financially viable.