Deeside hotel to change to flats

A Deeside hotel will be transformed into flats after plans were approved earlier this week.

The proposals to turn the Auld Kirk at Ballater into six two bedroom and two one bedroom flats were backed by members of the Marr area committee on Tuesday.

Councillors deferred making a decision in June so they could be given more information about maintenance arrangements for the church’s spire.

Aboyne, Upper Deeside and Donside councillor Peter Argyle said: “There was a little bit of discuss about maintenance about the exterior but members were satisfied with what they heard on that.

“There was a request for landscaping to hide the car park from view.”

The hotel and restaurant business has been established since 1984 and present owners, Tony Fuel and Peter Graydon, have been running the Auld Kirk since 2006.

Councillors heard how the hotel has been marketed for sale since June 2010 however no interest has been shown.

“The restaurant has won many awards and the accommodation is classed as four star Visit Scotland standards.

“The statement goes on to explain that the owners have had difficulty in recruiting suitably qualified chefs and as such this has resulted in them working extremely long hours which they feel they can no longer maintain,” a report to the committee said.

“At present the building is in use as a hotel with six letting rooms, restaurant, bar and private function room.

“The occupancy level for the letting rooms peaked in 2008/9 at 60% but the owners have stated that this is well below the industry benchmark.”

Ballater and Crathie Community Council has objected to the proposal.

It is concerned that the building is being overdeveloped and car parking would be inadequate.

However councillors agreed to a delegated grant planning permission, subject to several conditions, including maintenance and the provision of onsite parking for eight cars.