Community development gets approval despite road safety concerns

Plans to bring a historic former general store and emporium building back to life have been approved.

Wednesday, 10th November 2021, 7:56 am
Updated Wednesday, 10th November 2021, 7:56 am
James Sheriff’s Bridge of Alford Stores was a thriving general store, but the building had lain derelict for many years.

Morrison Campbell Estates had applied to Aberdeenshire Council for permission to change the use of the former Bridge of Alford Stores and Post Office buildings into a multi-purpose community facility.

The application was considered by the Marr Area Committee last week.

Prior to the meeting the application received five objections from residents who raised concerns regarding noise, anti-social behaviour and road safety.

Donside Community Council also objected to the plan stating road safety was their primary worry noting that hotel staff crossing the road could be a “potential risk”.

A further objection was received by the Tullynessle and Forbes Community Hall and Association regarding the many “under used” community facilities already providing services in the area.

They also said proposed on-road parking and the moving of catering items to and from the hotel could lead to road safety issues.

Despite these objections Aberdeenshire Council planners had recommended the plan be approved stating the proposal was a “welcome development in terms of a sustainable long-term use of a historical asset”.

The road safety concerns had been addressed before the meeting as revised plans were provided showing details of alterations to the junction of the A944 and Bridge of Alford Road.

The amendments were made to “better define” the junction while also providing a safe crossing point for pedestrians.

Signs warning drivers of pedestrians in the area will also be installed.

Committee chairman cllr John Latham welcomed the proposal saying it was the “last piece of the puzzle” and would provide community space which is “of great need in the area”.

Cllr Withey added that he was “very supportive” of the plan as it will bring the building back in use.

The building will now be converted into a community space, while the facility will be used as function space by the Forbes Arms Hotel.