Firm contracted for project to transform former Aberdeenshire vinery

WORK is set to get underway on a project to bring a former Aberdeenshire vinery into community use.

The grade-B listed building in Banff’s Airlie Gardens is believed to have been constructed in the 19th century to grow grapes as a gift to the town. However, it lay unused for years and was declared unsafe in 2010.

Ken Barbour Ltd has now been contracted by Aberdeenshire Council to carry out a project which will see the full restoration and refurbishment of the building’s bothy and glasshouse to create a community facility.

The project is being made possible thanks to £663,768 in funding from the Scottish Government’s regeneration capital grant fund (RCGF), and further funding from the town centre fund and the council itself.

Aberdeen Foyer, a charitable organisation which helps support people in the north east of Scotland to independent living, learning and work, will work in partnership with other local community groups in operating the building once work is complete.

As the property is a common good asset, approval will be needed for the building to be leased to an operator. As a result, the council said that Aberdeen Foyer will use a previous consultation and construction period to develop a business plan for their activities while talking with locals on their ideas and aspirations.

Councillor Doreen Mair, chair of the council’s Banff and Buchan area committee, said, “Despite this exciting project having had some setbacks due to Covid-19, it will be a very welcome boost to the local area and provides an  exciting  opportunity to bring such an iconic building  back into use once again.”

Anne Kain, head of  service, employability and learning  at Aberdeen  Foyer, added, “Our proposal for the use of The Vinery is based around using our extensive experience in developing and delivering services to create a wide range of opportunities for community members, such as accredited and vocational learning as well as therapeutic services and support. The aim is to create a positive space that will showcase local talent and generate a sense of hope and pride in the local community.”

The local authority said that on-site works are anticipated to last 48 weeks,  with an estimated completion date of March 2022.