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Restaurant plans approved for former Inverurie frozen food store

By David Porter

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Plans have been approved for the former Farmfoods store to be turned into a restaurant
Plans have been approved for the former Farmfoods store to be turned into a restaurant

An application to change a former Inverurie branch of frozen food store Farmfoods into a restaurant and takeaway have been approved.

Sava Estates had applied to Aberdeenshire Council seeking planning permission back in June to change the use of the vacant shop which is located at the small shopping precinct on North Street in the town.

The former Farmfoods store shut its doors for the final time in March last year and has lain vacant since.

Adjacent retail units at the Blackhall Road includes a dry cleaners, bakery and Co-op store and sit opposite the highly popular Drouth Laird.

The approved plans show that the layout of the empty store will be modified to include a kitchen, dining area and takeaway area while an extraction flue will also be installed from the kitchen.

The applicants have proposed that the new eatery would be open seven days a week from 10am-11pm Sunday to Thursday and 10am to midnight on Friday and Saturday.

However there is no listed client for the premises, but Sava have a long history in the north-east of purchasing empty properties, including several former banks when branches of the Royal Bank of Scotland were closed.

Inverurie Community Council had raised concerns regarding an increase in traffic on and around North Street.

They also noted that the existing step into the building “acts as a barrier” and would need to be addressed to ensure the new facility is fully accessible.

Aberdeenshire Council planners recommended the application be approved and said bringing the vacant site back into use “would enhance the vitality and viability of the town centre”.

The application was considered by the Garioch Area Committee at its latest meeting this week.

Councillor Lesley Berry said: “I’m not over the moon to see another eating establishment going in to Inverurie but businesses are closing their doors and we don’t want to see empty premises.

“We don’t have a real reason to stop it, I don’t think its the best use of the unit but I think we have to go with the recommendation.”

Councillor Marion Ewanson was of a similar mind and said the "market forces would prevail" in relation to its successful change of use.

Meanwhile councillor Judy Whyte said she would be “glad” to see the empty unit back in use.

The application was unanimously approved by the committee.

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