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The plans for Meldrum Motors, in Oldmeldrum
The plans for Meldrum Motors, in Oldmeldrum

Plans have been lodged for a new shop and a block of flats at the site of an empty garage in an Aberdeenshire village square.

A bid has been made to convert the site of Meldrum Motors, in Oldmeldrum, into 10 flats and a shop in the hope of boosting the local economy. The plans submitted to Aberdeenshire Council suggest keeping the ground floor of the building as a retail unit and adding four new parking spaces for its customers.

Meldrum Motors, at the south end of Oldmeldrum Market Square, was the site of a garage and petrol station but has been closed for around three years. The development would be split between two buildings, the shop and a block of flats to the south of the site. It is claimed the block of flats would be “sunk sightly in the ground” in order to safeguard views from neighbouring houses.

Fresh plans were recently submitted for a retail development off the A920 Colpy Road, despite proposals for a supermarket and four other units at the site being rejected last year.

Last night Muhammad Abu, the owner of the Meldrum Arms Hotel which neighbours the former garage, welcomed the plans. He said: “I think it is positive. The shops and flats there would bring more people to the centre. It has been closed since the gentleman died about three years ago.

“I will be happy to see that in the area. I hope, if the plans go ahead, it is going to be a new life for it. The construction work, I might get some complaints from the guests, but I need to be positive.”

Chairman of the Meldrum, Bourtie and Daviot Future Vision Group, Andrew McCartney, said: “If they can get the application through it would be good for the town centre.  There is a risk that the footfall in the centre of town would disappear if that (Colpy Road supermarket) development was to take place.

“Meldrum Motors has been empty for quite some time and is quite a depressing part of the town. Anything to enhance that part of the town centre would be good.

“Obviously Meldrum town square, it is quite a restricted area, and it might have some negative aspects in terms of traffic flow but I think we can overcome that.”

Tinto Architecture Ltd are designing the plans.

The firm’s design statement says: “Careful approach has to be taken as the site is located within the Oldmeldrum conservation area.

“The central location of the site within Oldmeldrum village makes it a optimal location for a local food retail unit.”