Page last updated at 15:01 GMT, Thursday, 11 December 2008

New life for famous store backed

Esslemont and Macintosh
Esslemont and Macintosh was established in 1873

Aberdeen councillors have backed plans to transform a famous city centre department store into a hotel.

Esslemont and Macintosh - affectionately known simply as E&Ms - in Union Street closed last year.

Plans have been submitted to convert the building into a hotel, while retaining some street level shops.

Councillors backed plans to create the 97-room hotel and retail units but full planning permission was deferred pending car parking arrangements.

The aim is to create a hotel in two buildings, linked by a high-level walkway.

Head of planning and infrastructure Dr Margaret Bochel said in a report: "Of particular relevance is that a recent survey by Visit Scotland identified a shortage of up-market hotel accommodation in Aberdeen.

"The provision of high quality hotel accommodation in Aberdeen would benefit the city's economy, tourism, and business trade."

The store, established in 1873, closed with the loss of 100 jobs after receivers were called in.

Aberdeen-based development company C and L Properties later bought the former store for 5.5m.

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