Church warehouse plans approved

Councillors have answered a Peterhead church’s prayers by allowing it to convert a former fishmongers into a “members only” warehouse retail club.
Tempo Group will bring the former fishmongers building back into use.Tempo Group will bring the former fishmongers building back into use.
Tempo Group will bring the former fishmongers building back into use.

Tempo Group lodged an application with Aberdeenshire Council to change the use of the former George S Forman site at the Blackhouse Industrial Estate.

The old fishmongers building has lain empty since the business went into administration back in May 2020.

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Tempo Group will operate the currently vacant building, providing services to around 285 members of its congregation.

The church already operates a smaller service within the Blackhouse Industrial Estate, but will move all of its operations to this new larger site.

The retail warehouse will sell food and drink groceries for churchgoers, including alcohol, as well as and non-food items such as school uniforms. It will also have a hot food takeaway and community kitchen that will be used to prepare meals from scratch for home deliveries.

A social meeting space for members of the church community will also be provided.

The warehouse will be staffed by volunteers, but it will not allow members of the general public “as a matter of policy”.

The church’s application recently went before the Buchan area committee.

Senior planner Alan Davidson told councillors that the unit being available for members only was “an unusual concept”.

But, he explained it would operate in the same way as other national retail club schemes such as Costco.

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Mr Davidson noted the warehouse being located in the industrial estate could have a negative impact on the town centre.

To help combat this, the council has restricted the use of the site to the church only.

This means that should the lease run out, the unit would reverse back to its current use, something Mr Davidson said was “a sensible approach to take”.

The move would also stop any other retail units opening in the building in the future.

But despite this concern, councillor Hannah Powell backed the proposal.

She said: “I fully support any new business so I really welcome this.”

Her view was shared across the committee as members unanimously granted the application.