Plans to rejuvenate a half empty business park in a north-east town have been submitted.
Westpark Business Park in Blackburn is only half occupied by oil and gas businesses and by a drive-thru Starbucks.
Now developers want to market the rest of the park to a more varied clientele, as they have struggled to rent out the vacant units due to the oil and gas industry downturn.
To do this, they have applied to build a retail premises there, along with electric car parking spaces and charging points.
South Fornet Estates own three sites at the business park and have tried marketing them towards office and warehouse buildings for bigger organisations.
But, according to them, they have struggled to rent out the units and now want to diversify the market by offering something different.
In a planning statement, Ryden LLP revealed they will be looking to attract a wide variety of potential shops, including a bakery, cafe or clothes premises.
It said: “Our client continues to proactively market the remainder of the business park, comprising sites 2B, 3B and 3C for employment uses associated with office and warehouse development.
“Market conditions within the north-east remain difficult, resulting from the recent downturn experienced with the oil and gas industry.
“Our client is however keen to diversify the offering at Westpark to stimulate greater market interest as well as supplement the existing business and commercial uses established within the park through the provision of an additional retail/cafe unit.”
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Currently, the business park is occupied by Starbucks and EV Offshore and Reservoir Group, who both have offices based there.
The developers pointed to the fact that Blackburn is a growing residential community as a reason why a retailer would want to move in.
They wrote: “Blackburn has experienced continued growth in recent years, supplemented through the development of residential land to the north, as well as designated employment land to the south of the settlement.
“The Aberdeenshire Local Development Plan (LDP) 2017 notes that Blackburn is a successful commuter town benefiting from a prominent location on the A96 and a large industrial estate.”
In addition to the retail unit, proposals have been lodged to create 17 car parking spaces for customers and staff.
Alongside those, there will also be provisions for 11 electrical vehicle parking spaces which will include modern high-powered rapid charge points, associated apparatus and infrastructure,
Ryden highlighted the need for these spaces in the north-east.
They said: “Recognising the ever-growing challenges of global climate change and national targets to reduce our carbon footprint and greenhouse gases from vehicles, our client recognises the potential to capitalise on the strategic position of the site, through the creation of an electric vehicle ultrafast charging station.
“This would have the capacity to provide vehicles with a full charge within approximately 30 minutes of plugging into the associated charging point.”
Council planners will make a decision in the coming months.