Appeal against multi-storey listing halted so Aberdeen City Council ‘can build case’
An appeal against the decision to grant protected status to eight multi-storey buildings in Aberdeen has been halted by the Scottish Government to allow Aberdeen City Council to build a case.
Earlier this year, Historic Environment Scotland (HES) earmarked the eight blocks for A-listed status. However, the move was widely criticised by Aberdeen council leaders, MPs and MSPs – including government minister and Aberdeen Central MSP Kevin Stewart.
Soon after, Aberdeen City Council submitted an appeal with the Department for Planning and Environmental Appeals (DPEA) in an attempt to halt the move.
Council members said that they have been unable to access key documents contained within the city archives and Central Library, which have been closed due to Covid-19 restrictions.
They claimed that led to them being unable to fully respond to the decision by HES to list the buildings, The Press and Journal reports.
Independent planning officials have now paused the case to allow the council to build its appeal.
A Scottish Government spokeswoman said: “The independent reporters have allowed further time for the appellant to submit a full statement of case on these appeals due to difficulties accessing certain documents during the Covid-19 lockdown.
“Other parties involved in the cases will be given the opportunity to comment on this further information.
“The cases have therefore been put on hold pending submission of this additional information.”
HES granted A-listed status back in January to Gilcomstoun Land, Porthill Court, Seamount Court, Virginia Court, Marischal Court, Thistle Court, Hutcheon Court, and Greig Court on the basis that the eight towering examples of post-war architecture, which have dominated the skyline of the granite city for 60 years, help tell the story of Scotland.
If the blocks are granted A-listed status, it means they would have the same protected status as iconic structures such as Aberdeen Music Hall and Marischal College.
HES said the block were of “outstanding importance” to Scotland’s history, with the organisation describing them as “some of the finest examples of social housing Scotland”. It has also claimed the decision to grant protected status would “present significant challenges for the council as corporate landlord”, as well as the negative public view of the buildings in the city.
Further claims state the designation will have a “critical impact on the economic development” of the sites, and that it will cause “unreasonable additional costs”.
A HES spokesman said: “In January, HES listed eight multi-storey buildings in Aberdeen at Category A in recognition of their outstanding architectural and historic interest.
“We are aware that Aberdeen City Council are appealing the decision to list these buildings. The appeals are now with the DPEA division of the Scottish Government, and we await their decision.”