15 September 2023

Work to begin on new family centre, library and council office in Ellon

The ground has been broken to mark the start of construction of a multi-purpose building comprising a new family resource centre, library, and council office at Bridge Street, Ellon.

The two-storey £11.4million development on part of the former Ellon Academy site seeks to create a ‘civic hub’ for the town, and forms part of the wider masterplan for the area.

The main public entrance will lead onto a customer service point and library, while the family resource centre will have its own separate entrance and enclosed outdoor play area.

The office section of the building will feature a ceremony room, registrar’s office, a flexible meeting room to accommodate Formartine Area Committee meetings, and an open plan collaborative office space to accommodate around 80 members of staff.

The internal layout of the building has been designed to be fully accessible and will feature a ‘Changing Places’ toilet facility that can be accessed from Bridge Street.

A car park to be accessed from Union Street will feature electric vehicle charging points, along with cycle lockers and stands.

And a landscaping scheme will include planting to support pollinating insects, with the construction of the building to include ‘swift bricks’ and ‘bat bricks’ to allow for roosting.

A key area of focus has been the protection of a walnut tree thought to be around 130 years old, which sits on the eastern edge of the site and will act as a link between the site’s former and future uses.

The building aims to achieve ‘net zero’ operational standards and will feature a number of renewable energy systems like photovoltaic panels, heat pumps and heat recovery ventilation, while having a highly insulated and airtight ‘envelope’ construction to minimise energy use.

Among those attending the site to mark the start of the project was Provost of Aberdeenshire Judy Whyte, who said: “The project will bring together a number of services together in one location, with a real focus on community use.

“By encouraging greater footfall in the area, I hope the new facility will also bring benefits to the wider town centre.”

Cllr Iain Taylor, chair of Aberdeenshire Council’s Formartine Area Committee, said: “It’s very pleasing to see work starting on what is a very well-known town centre site and that represents a substantial investment in our town.

“As well as creating a civic hub, the new building will bring a number of council teams together on one site, freeing up other sites in the town for other uses, including retail.”

Mike Bruce, Managing Director for Morrison North East, said: “We are delighted to be working once again with our partners at Aberdeenshire Council to provide these much-needed facilities for the local community in Ellon.

“We look forward to collaborating with all the stakeholders involved to create a sustainable new building, helping the council achieve their net zero targets and providing an exemplar project for this kind of public facility going forward.”

Construction work will begin this month, with the project due to be complete by February 2025.