Plans to turn former railway station into cafe and bike shop approved

The Cults Railway Station will be transformed by a local businessman after previous plans were rejected.

Plans to turn Aberdeen’s former Cults railway station into cafe and bike shop approved LDRS

Plans to convert the former Cults Railway Station into a cafe and bike shop have finally been given the go-ahead.

John Mackenzie of JJ’s Food & Drink Co Ltd had initially unveiled his hopes to transform the site along the Deeside Way in 2021.

But the Cults businessman’s plans were dashed after it was refused by Aberdeen City Council chiefs.

However he amended his plan and resubmitted it to the local authority earlier this year.

The renewed proposal proved to be a hit with the public as more than 100 letters of support for the cafe and bicycle shop were sent to the council.

The application was previously discussed at a planning meeting last Thursday but councillors agreed to visit the site first before making their final decision.

Despite the pouring rain, members headed out to the Station Road site this morning to see the building for themselves.

After receiving a guided tour and asking some questions, the drenched councillors headed back to the Town House to debate the plans.

Convener Ciaran McRae suggested the committee back Mr Mackenzie’s vision for the former station.

Councillor Neil Copland agreed and said the proposal would make the site “more aesthetically pleasing” than what is there at the moment.

“We need local businesses, we need local employers and this to me will enhance the area,” he explained.

Mr Copland also recognised that the plan had received a lot of support from its customers.

“More than 100 people took the time to support this and I think we should listen to them,” he stated.

However councillor Marie Boulton urged members to refuse the plan over fears it would have a negative impact on surrounding neighbours.

She told the chamber that a large number of people had contacted her raising concerns about pedestrian access down to the site.

“I can see great merits in this application but it’s just in the wrong location,” she said.

“We heard from the lady in the last meeting who after 26 years is moving because of the impact on her residential amenity.

“We’ve got to recognise that we do have to consider residents, whether it’s one or 50.

“The location is hugely detrimental in terms of road safety as far as I’m concerned.”

She added: “This is a great application for somewhere else.”

Ms Boulton went on to say she was “not comfortable” to support the proposal, but wanted it to remain as a bike repair shop in its current format.

But despite her pleas, the application was approved following a vote with eight in favour to three against.

Meanwhile, councillors also allowed The Boxcar to operate for another 12 months.

The temporary permission will allow the outdoor coffee kiosk to remain open while work on its new permanent location inside the station is completed.

The Boxcar first welcomed customers back in July 2021.

Speaking at last week’s meeting, project architect Richard Dingwall argued the development would create local investment and jobs.

He also said the conversion would “help to retain the building’s heritage while installing a sense of place and identity”.

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