The popular Marshall’s Farm Shop drive-thru and its controversial play area will remain open after it was revealed both were constructed without permission.
Business owners Kenneth Marshall and wife Moira applied to Aberdeenshire Council seeking retrospective planning consent for the recent additions to the rural store.
The busy farm shop can be found along the A96 near Kintore, stocking a wide variety of locally grown produce and gifts.
Kenneth and Moira decided to open a permanent drive-thru facility following the success of its Fireside Bothy which operated throughout the pandemic.
The £50,000 drive-thru was launched last February along with the play area which famously went viral last May.
The farm shop became a viral talking point after an Aberdeen mum took to social media to complain about staff there.
She alleged that employees shouted at her two-year-old son after he was found climbing on the tractor.
The angry mum claimed the owners tapped him on the shoulder and pointed at him in the face after spotting him climb from the tractor seat to the wheel arch.
However, the Marshalls later apologised for handling the situation “incorrectly”.
The outdoor play area also includes slides, swings and roundabouts, along with a wooden boat and climbing frame.
Meanwhile, the drive-thru was opened last February and was believed to be the first of its kind in the north of Scotland.
It serves delicious freshly prepared meals for customers on the go including breakfast rolls, homebakes, stovies, salads, pies, and even lunch boxes for kids.
Those just looking for a caffeine fix can also stop by for a tea or coffee.
The application recently went before members of the Garioch area committee.
Council planners had recommended the facilities remain in place, saying they were of “suitable scale and form” for the site.
Jennifer Ross of agents John Wink Design explained the couple were “unaware” they needed planning permission for the additions.
However, she said they were “pleased” to see the support for both developments.
She also explained that the drive-thru was needed to allow the business to “avoid losing out on passing trade”.
Mrs Ross also stressed that there had not been a “huge increase” in traffic because of it.
However, councillor Judy Whyte raised concerns about customer safety due to the lack of designated pavements on the site.
She was worried that the only pedestrian access to the shop was through the car park and feared the matter could get worse if the business grows in the future.
This view was shared by committee chairwoman Marion Ewenson who noted that customers have to walk alongside takeaway traffic.
However despite these fears, councillors approved the application but asked the owners to add extra safety measures for pedestrians.
Owner Kenneth Marshall said the couple were “delighted” to get the backing of the committee.
He added: “We have really enjoyed seeing current and new customers experiencing our new facilities including our dog run fields, drive-thru and playpark.
“We are constantly looking at ways to progress and diversify our business in order to make Marshall’s appealing to a wider range of customers and make our farm shop a destination for the north-east.”
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