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Tarves Youth Hall extension gets the go ahead

By Kirsty Brown

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Councillors have today approved plans to extend and improve Tarves Youth Hall.

The application outlined a number of changes which would greatly improve the experience of the many locals who use the hall for various groups and events.

The current entrance to the main building will be replaced with a new vestibule entrance which will not only improve accessiblility and manouevring for users with buggies or prams but will also provide a space for these to be 'parked' without impeding on space in the main hall.

The existing outbuilding is unfortunately not fit for purpose at the moment, and the plans show that this will be replaced with a new secure building which would contain different rooms to provide designated storage space for regular users.

The plans also show that a covered walkway would connect the main building to the storage space.

There were no individual representations made against the application however Aberdeenshire Built Heritage and Tarves Community Council had both voiced concerns, specifically around some of the materials proposed and the aesthetic impact on the surrounding area which is in fact a conservation zone.

Following feedback and consultation the applicant had made some changes to their initial planning application.

Despite these changes there were still some concerns from councillors who were discussing the application, particularly around the use of off-white rendering (formerly proposed as white).

There were worries that this was not fitting with the surrounding area.

Councillor Paul Johnston remained uncertain despite amendments.
Councillor Paul Johnston remained uncertain despite amendments.

Councillor Karen Adam said: "It is positive to have an expanded community facility but it is also important to be sympathetic to the rest of the area."

Sharing his thoughts on the controversial rendering, councillor Jim Gifford said that he would be more concerned if the building was in a prominent place in the village however because it is "tucked away" it shouldn't be as big a concern, while fellow Mid-Formartine representative Andrew Hassan said that he did not feel it was a big enough issue to object to the plans.

Councillor Paul Johnston said: "While there is no precedent in planning there clearly is in the mind of everybody concerned.

"It's very good that they have actually made adjustments to make the application fit the conservation area better, and there are no significant objections now to the design.

"There remains an issue of the materials, and the materials are what have affected the conservation area.

"It may not be visible from a public street but it is a public building in that everybody goes into it, so the issue remains the same.

"It is a shrinking conservation area if we keep nibbling away at the edges."

He proposed that the committee only approve the application if a condition was put in place that the materials matched as closely as possible to those in the surrounding area, however in the final vote the application was approved 'as seen' by seven votes to five.

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