An extensive refurbishment project which transformed a disused building in Strichen into a community restaurant has caught the attention of the Aberdeenshire Design Awards 2012.
The £385,000 Lodge Restaurant in Strichen was completed in May 2011 and has been nominated for an accolade at the forthcoming awards ceremony. The project comprised the complete refurbishment of an existing building, along with the construction of a brand new extension and associated landscaping.
Lovie Construction Ltd was the main contractor on the project, whilst Lachlan Macdonald was the architect.
Although the Lodge Restaurant project has received a nomination at the Aberdeenshire Design Awards 2012, the building is part of a much larger redevelopment scheme that has transformed Strichen Community Park into a new community site.
Strichen Community Park Comity Director, Hebbie Fowlie, explained:
“Strichen Community Park is located just outside the village of Strichen, and had previously existed as a country estate before it was bought by Scottish Aggregates Ltd, who built a factory on the site.
“When the factory closed, the buildings remained on the site but over time they deteriorated and became a bit of a blot on the landscape. Keen to do something with the land my father approached Scottish Aggregates Ltd to see if they would be willing to donate part of the site to the village so that we could revive this area. Scottish Aggregates Ltd agreed and after first donating 20 acres to the village we eventually managed to acquire the remainder of the site taking us up to 37 acres of land.
“The Park Comity then started work on refurbishing the whole area, which included tidying up the lake and introducing picnic areas into the Park. The only area of the site that then remained untouched was an old gatehouse building which didn’t fit in with the redevelopment of the site.
“There were plans in place to sell this building, however when I came on to the comity I objected and suggested that we turn it into something more useful. We then looked into funding, approached Lovie Construction and before long we started transforming the building into Lodge Restaurant.”
Whilst the existing building underwent extensive refurbishment works, the original granite facade and external walls were kept in place. Slate flooring was then installed throughout the building, whilst a modern kitchen, DDA compliant customer toilets and staff areas were also constructed.
A driveway was then installed around the Lodge, alongside grassed areas and outdoor seating.
Hebbie Fowlie said:
“The work that has been conducted on Lodge Restaurant has really made a huge difference to the Park. The addition of the facility has raised awareness of the redevelopment work and it has really helped to revitalise the village.
“Strichen Community Park has become an area where visitors can take their dog for a walk or go for a coffee and it has really brought the community together.”
Hebbie Fowlie added:
“Being nominated at the Aberdeenshire Design Awards 2012 is great as this is fantastic recognition for all of the hard work that has been put in by everyone involved, especially by all of our volunteers.
“This site demonstrates what a small community can achieve when everyone gets behind each other. We have had some great support from Aberdeenshire Council who provided us with our first piece of funding and then additional funding from the Big Lottery Fund. We have been very lucky with all of the help that has made this project a reality.”