ABERDEEN councillors are being urged to approve plans to transform a derelict nightclub on the city’s beachfront into a major housewear store - despite “significant” concerns about potential parking problems in the area.
The Range, one of Britain’s leading DIY, gardening and homeware chains, is seeking the go ahead to open its first store in Scotland at the site of the former Amadeus nightclub at the city’s Queens Links Leisure complex.
The nightclub - the biggest in Scotland when it opened in 1997 with space for 2,000 clubbers in five themed bars - has lain empty for the last ten years and adjoining Riva bingo hall finally closed its doors four years ago,.
The Range is seeking planning permission to link the two redundant units to create a new 60,000 sq ft retail store in a development that will lead to 150 new jobs in the city.
The proposal includes the formation of a small café, on a mezzanine level, which will open up onto the Beach Esplanade and the creation of a new glazed entrance from the Beach Esplanade on the east elevation of the building.
Dr Margaret Bochel, the council’s head of planning and sustainable development, is recommending approval.in a report to next Tuesday’s meeting of the planning develomenet management committee.
But she reveals in her report that the council’s Roads Projects Team have raised “severe” concerns about the impact on parking at the Queens Links car park which is shared with customers for the various facilities at the leisure complex.
The current capacity of the car park is 884 spaces; but surveys have predicted that there will be insufficient spaces for customers at peak periods. The report states: “With a total supply of 876 spaces following the application, it is clear that there would be insufficient parking to accommodate the demand. The extent to which the car park is predicted to be over capacity extends beyond the immediate peak period.
“There are existing constraints on the surrounding road network coupled with a high demand for this parking. Given the calculations that have been carried out, it is likely that the granting of this planning permission would result in additional pressures being placed upon the street parking supply, particularly at the peak weekend afternoon period.”
The development, she states, should be granted conditional approval. Dr Bochel continues: “The concerns of the council’s Roads Projects Team have been taken into account and it is considered that their concerns in relation to parking/cycle provision/ service yard and bus provision can adequately be controlled via planning conditions.
“The benefits provided by the development, including opening up the beach elevation, are considered to be advantageous in this situation. In addition, the mixture of retail and leisure in not new in Scotland, with developments at Glasgow Fort and Fort Kinnaird in Edinburgh being of a similar nature.”
She adds: “Although it is acknowledged that the site is not ideal for retail use, at present there do not appear to be any sites or premises which could be potentially sequentially preferable to the application site.”