PRINCE Charles has lodged plans to open a pop-up restaurant in Ballater, the flood-stricken “Jewel of the Cairngorms”.
It is hoped the Duke of Rothesay’s new Royal Deeside diner will give the Aberdeenshire village a much needed tourism boost in the wake of devastating winter storms.
The village was badly affected by New Year flooding, with hundreds of homes and scores of businesses swamped with water when river defences failed during Storm Frank.
The Prince had been spending the festive season nearby on the Royal Family’s Balmoral Estate when the River Dee burst its banks on December 30 and sent a torrent of destruction across the area.
He visited the village just a day after the flood waters receded and has since embarked on a fundraising drive to get local businesses back on their feet.
It was the second disaster to strike the village last year after the Old Royal Station, where Queen Victoria would alight from the royal carriage on her annual visit to Balmoral, was lost in a devastating fire back in May.
Many thought the loss of the station combined with the flooding may have sounded the death knell for the village, which relies on summer tourism.
But it is hoped that the new eatery’s Royal connections could help revive the area and the Duke has now submitted plans to Aberdeenshire Council to turn a former Co-op store into a quick-fix restaurant.
And it may even sell products from his own Highgrove brand.
The proposal is to turn the former convenience shop on the village’s Netherly Place into a pop-up restaurant and cafe.
The application is being made through the prince’s Great Steward of Scotland’s Dumfries House Trust and would see it run for two years.
The new look building would include a bar and specialise in serving locally sourced British food for up to 40 covers, as well as creating jobs for villagers.
A supporting statement by architects Halliday Fraser Munro states: “In light of the devastation caused by the flooding in Ballater earlier in the year and the effect that this has had on visitor activities, tourism and the local community, the Dumfries House Outreach Programme is seeking to create a ‘pop-up’ restaurant facility to not only fulfil a section of the market that is currently missing due to the earlier station fire and flooding, but also to provide employment and training within the local community.
“The profits from this venture would be invested into the charitable works of The Great Steward of Scotland’s Dumfries House Trust.
“The conversion of the existing unit would require minor internal and external alterations to allow the property to facilitate a restaurant and to enhance the design of the existing frontage.
“This would result in the reuse of a vacant property which would enhance the town’s offering of food and drink establishments, and would enhance the overall appearance of the conservation area.
“In turn local benefits such as boosts to tourism, public amenity and job creation would be delivered.”
The Duke has also been linked to a pop-up tea shop in a former McEwens of Perth store in Ballater, which shut earlier this year when the chain went into administration.
Villagers have pulled together in recent months in a bid to re-open key facilities such as the local butcher shop and the caravan park, where dozens of static units were wrecked or lost to the water.
The Old Royal Station is also set to rise from the ashes, with Aberdeenshire Council working on a rescue plan to restore it to its former glory.