New plans to rebuild an Aberdeenshire village pub that was destroyed in a gas explosion more than seven years ago have been approved.
The explosion at the Drumtochty Arms in Auchenblae on January 7 2009 led to three people being seriously injured and the demolition of the building.
A kitchen fitting firm was subsequently fined £7,400 for breaching health and safety rules.
There was previously planning permission in place to rebuild the hotel, bar and restaurant on the cleared site, but this lapsed.
However, a new application for the Market Street site has been approved by Aberdeenshire Council under delegated powers.
In the plans the ground floor consists of a large entrance hall with staircase, lift and reception area. This leads onto a public bar, games room and a restaurant, lounge and function suite with kitchen and toilet facilities.
The first floor accommodates eight en-suite bedrooms. The second floor will be used for storage and staff offices. The existing bothy will be used as a manager’s flat.
The lower level of the butcher’s shop will accommodate a food preparation/storage area, staff room and takeaway area to the front.
A planning statement from chartered architects AB Roger & Young Ltd on behalf of applicant Drumtochty Castle Ltd states: “The proposed development replaces the former hotel which had no off street parking.
“It is only slightly larger than the previous development as this application now incorporates the neighbouring building which was formerly the butcher’s shop and flat.
“A small area to the rear of the former shop would provide two or three off street spaces that could be used by staff.”
It added: “We feel this reapplication should also be approved as a welcome addition to the High Street of Auchenblae and allow a derelict site to be regenerated and enhance the village square.”
Fire crews from Laurencekirk, Stonehaven and Inverbervie tackle the blaze in 2009.
The hotel was days away from reopening after a year-long refurbishment when the blast occurred.
Health and safety officials ordered that the remains be torn down.
Three people were injured in the accident.
One of them was barmaid Danielle Ormond, who was buried under rubble and suffered many broken bones and a collapsed lung.
Catering supply firm Instant Catering Maintenance Ltd, of Union Street, Aberdeen, were subsequently fined £7,500 at Aberdeen Sheriff Court after pleaded guilty to breaching the Health and Safety at Work Act.