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Principle of Garden’s site redevelopment approved

The Garden’s site is being earmarked for a huge redevelopment and now the plans can proceed to the full design stage after the principle of the development was approved.

The principle of a proposed town centre entertainment complex at the former Garden’s site in Kirkwall has been given a seal of approval from councillors on Orkney Islands Council’s planning committee this morning.

Developer Neil Stevenson is hoping to transform 18 Bridge Street — the former home of R. Garden and Co and, more recently, the Scarthcentre and Wisebuys.

The initial plans comprise a bowling alley, nightclub, music venues, restaurant, gym, dance studios, exhibition and retail spaces, an outdoor leisure centre, and an Orkney Music Visitor Centre.

Mr Stevenson had sought planning permission in principle, which separates the absolute basics of “principle of development” — land use, location and amount of development — from the technical details.

Via this route, you only need to establish the principle of development once, and then, at a later date, the technical details, which includes the appearance of the building and its compliance with local and national policies will be considered in a new application.

At a meeting of the Orkney Islands Council’s planning committee this morning, Wednesday, August 31, councillors voted to approve the application, which will allow the project to go to the full design stage, ahead of full planning permission being sought.

Although nine objections were made — in addition to an objection from the council’s Roads Services due to the lack of information surrounding parking at present — the planning department backed the principle of the development.