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Wed June 29 2022

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Aberdeenshire clears plans for new hub

24 Mar Aberdeenshire Council has granted planning permission for a new ‘civic hub’ as part of a wider masterplan for Schoolhill in Ellon.

The development at the site of a former academy will include a council office, public library and family centre. The office section will feature a ceremony room and registrar’s office, along with a ‘civic area’ in front of the building. There will be a separate entrance to the building for the library and family resource centre, which will feature an outdoor play area.

A report before councillors said: “The development seeks to create a ‘civic hub’, whereby it would be closely related to the town centre, and within the proximity of other public sector uses such as the police station and fire station.

“Furthermore, in concentrating the number of council uses into one location near to the centre of Ellon, it would seek to provide an economic benefit to local businesses by bringing people to the area.”

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There will be parking, electric vehicle charging points, cycle lockers and stands. A landscaping scheme will include planting to support pollinating insects. The construction of the building will also include ‘swift bricks’ and ‘bat bricks’ to allow for roosting.

The building aims to achieve ‘net zero’ operation standards and will feature a number of carbon reduction measures. The report before councillors noted the development would free up retail and office space in Ellon town centre as council services move to the new office.

A key area of focus has been the protection of a walnut tree thought to be around 130 years old, which sits on the eastern edge of the site. Protecting the tree means that the footway on Bridge Street will be narrower at that point than the recommended 2m, leading to an objection from the council’s roads service. The existing boundary wall by the tree is to be reduced in height, and additional traffic calming measures have been proposed on Union Street.

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