A former Angus tourist attraction once thought “doomed” will be brought back to life for families.
The £1.2 million Pictavia Visitor Centre near Brechin opened in 1999 as a means to preserve the story of the Picts.
But it closed 15 years later as the failing centre was said to be “doomed from the start”.
And new owner Brechin Castle Centre Ltd has now been given permission to redevelop the centre as a soft play area for kids.
This would run in tandem with the adjacent garden centre, which council planners believe will bolster the area’s attraction as a tourist draw.
According to agents Pleydell Smithman, the “exciting and unusual” treehouse play area would welcome a new generation of little soldiers.
For the local authority, case officer Neil Duthie commented the centre would have to be run in tandem with the garden centre.
“It would not be viable to relocate an entire garden centre to an alternative site closer to a town centre in order to achieve a very modest change of use of an existing building,” he states.
“In order to achieve the results intended by the planning application, our clients would need to consider sites that could accommodate the existing garden centre and the proposed development in its entirety.”
Consultant Kathryn Farden said the change of use would directly employ six people, with another 7.8 jobs possible for local suppliers as a consequence of new business.
She said: “The site has become an established part of the local community and provides an important service for tourists to the wider east coast area.
“Garden centres have developed over time to offer a wide range of products and services from their sites over the years.
“Attracting families to garden centres is important as the traditional garden centre customer base is changing.”
Two play zones will be created, one for toddlers and one for older children, both of which will include foam mats, play equipment and ball pit areas.
A coffee shop will be provided within the building to enable parents to purchase food and drinks whilst supervising their children.
Pictavia’s annual operating cost was £37,000 from 2010 to 2014, with only £10,000 in income each year.