Councillors unanimously approve Aberdeen city centre masterplan
Aberdeen city councillors seized a “once-in-a-generation opportunity” to kick-start a 20-year regeneration programme for the city centre.
The principles of the Aberdeen City Centre Masterplan outlined in a presentation by independent consultants BDP were unanimously accepted – with further details on the delivery programme mechanisms to be decided at the next council meeting on August 19th.
Aberdeen City Council appointed a multi-disciplinary team headed by internationally renowned masterplanning consultancy BDP to work with the public, businesses and a range of stakeholder organisations to draw up the City Centre Masterplan and Delivery Programme.
BDP’s proposals of the 49 projects planned for the multi-million pound regeneration of Aberdeen city centre includes the pedestrianisation of Union Street, the expansion of Union Terrace Gardens and the redevelopment or demolition of the Trinity Centre shopping mall.
The Castlegate would become the city’s civic heart and the St Nicholas centre would be revamped under the 95-page masterplan.
A total of 1,500 new homes could be built within the masterplan area, a quarter of which would be classed as affordable, principally around a new residential quarter at Green Street and a new waterfront neighbourhood at Torry.
Councillors had agreed not to comment on the plans before the meeting but conveyed their excitement of the proposed developments.
Council leader Councillor Jenny Laing, said: “These proposals once delivered will have a significant and positive impact on our city. With the potential for an extra 5,500 jobs and an increase of £280 million in the city’s gross annual income it is an opportunity that all councillors have today seized.
“We now have to focus on the delivery programme for each of the projects and of course we will need to work with all our partners to secure the funding necessary to change our city for the better and to help build a city that attracts visitors and investors from across the globe.”
Councillor Marie Boulton said a “long-term city vision” is what was needed for Aberdeen.
Councillor Ross Thomson said the framework agreement “enables change, encourages regeneration, transforms the city centre and repairs its broken heart”.
Councillor Jackie Dunbar added: “We all share the goal of improving our city centre and I am pleased to support the proposals presented to us by BDP.”
Councillor Ian Yuill said that an additional 1,600 homes could be created in the city centre that will “help maintain it as a thriving and economically viable place to live and work”.
City Centre Masterplan Facts and Figures
- The key proposals identified by BDP following public consultation include:
- 43,600 sq.m. of reclaimed street space for pedestrians and cyclists
• 52,200 sq.m. of enhanced public space (including the main spaces of Union Street, Castlegate and Union terrace Gardens)
• 26,500 sq.m. of additional public space
• 129,336 sq.m. of new office development
• 129,846 sq.m. of new residential space (approximately 1,600 new dwellings)
• 66,960 sq.m. of improved retail and leisure space
• 33,456 sq.m. of new hotel space
• Aberdeen Art Gallery extension and Cowdray Hall refurbishment
• Aberdeen Music Hall refurbishment
• Creation of an annual city centre events programme
• Establishment of a Global Energy Hub applied science and innovation centre
- Feedback from those living and working in Aberdeen helped shape the evolving Masterplan and the specific projects included the following:
- Queen Square: The transformation of the Queen Street area into a new mixed-use urban quarter;
• Castlegate/Castlehill: A vibrant public square will reinvigorate Castlegate/Castlehill;
• Denburn Valley: The reawakening of the Denburn Valley as the setting for a new generation of city living;
• Heart of the City: Union Street gets the space it deserves through pedestrianisation of part of Aberdeen’s historic main street;
• Union Street West: A contemporary business/retail/leisure feel to the West End of Union Street and the renovation of Golden Square and Bon Accord Square as accessible green spaces;
• Station Gateway: A much enhanced gateway and better pedestrian routes to and from the railway station to radically improve first impressions of Aberdeen;
• South Dee: A new pedestrian bridge across the Dee to link to a new residential community at South Dee and enhanced riverside promenade;
• North Dee: A significant new office and business quarter at North Dee
- Following an extensive period of public and stakeholder engagement in which more than 4000 people living and working in Aberdeen were involved BDP, identified 49 projects across four City Centre Masterplan themes to be presented to the Full Council meeting on June 24th.
- The projects include 12 community based initiatives, 13 infrastructure proposals, 13 economic outputs and 11 environmental developments across the city. Key housing, building, transportation and public realm concerns raised during the consultation process have been addressed as the city gears up for the next 25 years and beyond.