Halliday Fraser Munro

Affordable homes plans on show for land at Aberdeen Airport

Plans are in the pipeline to develop more than 300 affordable homes on a vacant site near Aberdeen Airport.

The Evening Express has reported that First Endeavour LLP is to submit a proposal of application notice to Aberdeen City Council to build the homes near the BP garage site on Riverview Drive, Dyce.

The Aberdeen-based firm has acquired the site where it proposes to build 302 socially affordable houses, which will be available for rent.

Under the plans, there will be 58 one-bedroom homes for one occupant, along with 36 one-bedroom homes for two people.

There are also plans for 156 two-bedroom homes, 44 three-bed homes and eight five-bedroom homes within the development.

A First Endeavour spokesman said: “There is a huge demand for social housing. There is more people living in single occupancy and couples that don’t have children.

“We’re working with the council’s housing department and associations to find out where the greatest need is to accommodate that and key workers will certainly be a key part of that need.

“Developments like this are a huge economic driver for filling empty posts including teachers and the police.”

The firm has had contact with Police Scotland while developing its proposals in a bid to potentially accommodate key workers.

The site, which is also near the BP headquarters on Wellheads Avenue, has lain vacant for the past three to four years. And the developers are working with architects Halliday Fraser Munro to draw up their proposals ahead of submitting their proposal of application notice to the local authority.

A public consultation will take place on Tuesday from 1.30pm until 7.30pm at the Marriott Hotel in Dyce, with residents, businesses and councillors all welcome to attend. The firm’s spokesman added they would appreciate the community’s feedback and input in shaping the application.

Developer takes appeal for almost 250 Aberdeenshire homes to Holyrood

A developer has launched an appeal to the Scottish Government in a bid overturn Aberdeenshire Council’s decision to reject its plans for almost 250 new homes.

Barratt North Scotland had proposed to deliver 247 homes on Fordoun Road in Laurencekirk.

However councillors on the council’s Kincardine and Mearns area committee voted against the plans in October citing concerns of housing density and the layout of roads for the plan at Fordoun Road.

The councillors also said the development would have a detrimental impact on the town’s open space, as well as failing to comply with the approved masterplan for the area.

Now Barratt has urged Holyrood’s planning and environment appeals division to overturn the refusal.

Chris Ross, development director at Barratt North Scotland, said: “We were disappointed by the decision from the Kincardine and Mearns area committee last year, but remain hopeful for the appeal to deliver 247 new homes in the area.

“This project would offer a mix of properties including affordable housing for the local community.”

Planning documents lodged with the Scottish Government said 62 affordable units would be built. These include a mixture of flats and houses.

Aberdeenshire Council now has until March 6 to give a response to the Scottish Government regarding the appeal.

A letter from the government to Halliday Fraser Munro, the agents for Barratt North Scotland, said: “Aberdeenshire Council, the planning authority that dealt with your original application, now has 21 days to give us a response to your appeal, along with any relevant documents or information.

“You will receive a copy of this response and then have 14 days to respond.”

A spokesman for Aberdeenshire Council said: “We note the appeal and will await the outcome.”

Tribunal rules against Aberdeen quarry visitor centre plans

Plans for the heritage centre were designed by Halliday Fraser Munro

Plans to create a heritage centre at Rubislaw Quarry in Aberdeen have suffered a setback after a tribunal denied the application.

Businessman Hugh Black wants to transform parts of the flooded quarry into a £6 million heritage centre and tourist attraction celebrating Aberdeen’s granite history.

A five-day Lands Tribunal for Scotland hearing was held last November into the application to vary title conditions at the site to allow the project to go ahead.

However, in a report which it is understood will be published today, the application has been denied, casting doubt on the future of the project.

Mr Black has six weeks in which to lodge an appeal at the Court of Session.

The businessman said he was “shocked” and would be seeking further legal advice.

Carttera’s rival plans for Rubislaw Quarry

Rival developers Carttera, who hope to build a £68m, up to 10-storey high development on the northern edge of the quarry including 300 flats, a gym and more, welcomed the decision.

The Toronto-based company’s founder Jim Tadeson said he felt “gratified” by the news.

Carttera’s proposals for the quarry also feature a “heritage bistro” which is planned to host a permanent exhibition detailing the history of Rubislaw Quarry, which gave Aberdeen its Granite City nickname.

A spokesman for the Lands Tribunal for Scotland said: “It was a big decision, in that it was a five day hearing, to do with an application to vary a title condition that affected the quarry and on the face of it prohibited a granite heritage centre that the applicants wanted to build.

“Mr Black was applying for the decision, and that outcome has not gone in his favour.”

Aberdeen councillors back Bon Accord and St Nicholas expansion

Bon Accord & St Nicholas Aberdeen4Plans to expand the Bon Accord and St Nicholas centres have been granted planning permission in principle by Aberdeen City Council.

Councillors agreed with the local authority’s planners who recommended approving the redevelopment which will see the facility extended by around 8,500 sq m to include shops, offices and restaurants, food outlets and a roof over part of George Street.

A 170-bed hotel and 50 flats have also been proposed for the site.

The plan, by centre owners BMO, would result in the 123-year-old unlisted building at 41-43 Loch Street – a former soup kitchen – being demolished, removed or relocated.

The preferred option is to remove the building and relocate it on Loch Street closer to the Berry Street roundabout. Santander and Co-op buildings on George Street would also be demolished to make way for new shops and the hotel.

A new four or five-storey retail block has also been put forward, linking the Bon Accord Centre and John Lewis.

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Adrian Watson, chief executive of city centre business body Aberdeen Inspired, welcomed the investment.

He said: “We welcome the news that plans for the expansion of Bon Accord are gathering pace, as they will make a significant contribution to the masterplan, once implemented.

“The development proposals and significant investment will regenerate an important part of the city centre which will have a good knock-on effect in the heart of Aberdeen.”

Andrew Martin, vice-chairman of the city and shire hoteliers association and director of the Scottish centre for tourism at RGU, said: “I think people see that to move the city forward and diversify the economy they need to embrace economic regeneration.

“What we want to avoid is an American-style out-of-town shopping centre culture.”

Detailed plans are expected to come forward later this year.

Chris Miller, associate planner at GVA, said on behalf of Aberdeen Shopping Centres Ltd: “The support received throughout the development of the proposals from the public, stakeholders and key organisations including the city centre masterplan team and Aberdeen Inspired was invaluable, and we would like to thank all those who got involved and backed the plans.”

Expansion of Bon Accord and St Nicholas centres backed by Aberdeen planners

Bon Accord George StreetCouncil planners have backed proposals to expand the Bon Accord and St Nicholas shopping centres in Aberdeen.

Developers BMO Real Estate Partners have applied to expand the facility out to George Street to encompass nearly 9,500sq ft of shops, offices and restaurants and food outlets.

Included in the proposals would be a roof over part of George Street, while there is also potential for a 170-bed hotel as well as flats and serviced apartments.

Urging councillors to approve the scheme next week, Aberdeen City Council planners said the development will enhance the “vitality and viability” of this area of the city centre.

However, they have recommended the development be approved conditionally and to withhold consent until developer obligations and affordable housing provision is agreed.

The development would be split into three distinct blocks, with one located on Loch Street on the site of a former soup kitchen, now housing Jo Malone.

As part of the development of this block, Jo Malone would be relocated closer to the entrance to the Loch Street car park.

The former Co-op supermarket, Santander bank, Balaclava Bar and two other smaller vacant retail units would also be demolished to make way for new shops and a hotel.

A third block would cover areas of car parking and yard space next to Crooked Lane, along with three retail units on St Andrew Street.

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A total of nine objections have been lodged against the development with one of support submitted by business organisation Aberdeen Inspired.

The Press & Journal reports that the neighbouring Robert Gordon’s College (RGC) has said it has no objection to the principle of the redevelopment and expansion of the centre, but did raise concerns over the impact of the development on Crooked Lane.

The school said the route is a “key route” for parents dropping off pupils on Schoolhill and has the potential to “detrimentally impact on the operations of our client”.

Their statement, composed by Halliday Fraser Munro, said: “We do not consider that the character and scale of the area will be able to successfully accommodate the road upgrades and scale of development proposed.

“The additional development as proposed on Crooked Lane and St Andrew Street and the associated activities arising will also result in conflicts with the substantial numbers of RGC pupils using the gate at the corner of Crooked Lane and St Andrew Street.”

The school adds that increased traffic and pedestrian use in that area could potentially impact on the establishment’s Category ‘A’ listed boundary wall.

However, Historic Environment Scotland said it had no input to make on the impact on the A-listed building.

Adrian Watson, chief executive of Aberdeen Inspired, supported the proposals on behalf of the organisation.

In his letter, he said: “The proposal is entirely in keeping with the strategic direction of the Aberdeen City Centre Masterplan, our collective commitment to seeing our city centre develop and grow, making it a destination of choice for those who wish to work, live or visit.

“The proposed development also meets the core objectives of Aberdeen Inspired, which essentially looks to see increased footfall and dwell time in our city centre.

“I feel this ambitious project will not only achieve this, but enhance this area of the city centre in general, which is certainly to be welcomed – a view shared by several local businesses that my team have communicated with over the past few weeks.”

A separate application for a £2.2 million seven-screen cinema and leisure hub has already been granted planning approval.

Members of the city council’s planning committee will vote on the development on Thursday.

£3m restoration of Ballater Station begins

Ballater Station CGI #2Construction and infrastructure company Morgan Sindall has started a £3 million project to restore Ballater Old Royal Station in Aberdeenshire.

The listed building is an important heritage asset, historically used by the Royal Family when travelling to nearby Balmoral Castle, but it was almost completely destroyed following a fire in May 2015.

The station ceased to operate as a functioning railway station in 1966, but for the last 15 years the building has been leased to national tourism agency VisitScotland functioning as a tourist information centre and a museum celebrating the station’s rich cultural history.

Although much of the building was destroyed by fire, a replica royal carriage survived, as well as various undamaged display cases, which will be reinstated as part of the restoration.

Plans will also see a new library and larger exhibition space added to a visitor information centre and restaurant.

The principle elevations of the original building will be reinstated, matching the original Victorian architecture and detailing, including a faithful restoration of Queen Victoria’s waiting room.

Ballater Railway Station turf cutting08The start of work on site was marked by a traditional turf cutting ceremony, attended by Aberdeenshire Council Provost Hamish Vernal along with representatives from Morgan Sindall, architects Halliday Fraser Munro and VisitScotland.

Provost Hamish Vernal cut the first turf with a ceremonial spade and wheelbarrow, which was originally used to start the construction of Ballater Railway Station by the Great North of Scotland Railway Company in 1865.

He said: “Ballater has had a tough time lately. The fire was a terrible tragedy along with the devastation suffered as a consequence of Storm Frank.

“However, I can see real progress with many shops open for business again and more and more residents returned to their homes. Therefore, it is great to see another milestone achieved through the start of the construction work to redevelop the Old Royal Station.”

Ballater Station CGI #1Morgan Sindall area director, Mark McBride, said: “Morgan Sindall has a successful track record of delivering public sector projects and we’re proud to have been selected for one that has such significance to people not only in the local area, but across Scotland as a whole.

“It’s our first contract awarded through Aberdeenshire Council’s Main Contractor Framework and we’re pleased to get work underway.

“Ballater Old Royal Station has a rich cultural history and is integral to the region’s tourism industry. We’re mindful of the need to retain as many of the original heritage features as possible during the restoration process and confident that the finished building will be well received.”

Work is expected to be completed by the end of the year.

Robertson Partnership Homes plans 138 affordable Aberdeen homes

St Machar RoadPlans have been submitted for 138 affordable urban homes in four blocks of flats at St Machar Road in Aberdeen.

The proposals have been put forward by Robertson Partnership Homes and Grampian Housing Association.

Craig Stirrat, director of business development at Grampian Housing Association, told our sister publication Scottish Housing News: “Like all housing associations in the North East, Grampian Housing Association is committed to contributing to the delivery of Aberdeen City Council and Scottish Government targets to increase the provision of affordable housing for rent. In particular we are keen to support the local community and make Tillydrone a great place to live.”

St Machar Road 2The scheme will offer private south facing courtyards, include public open space and a tree-lined avenue connecting to a new floodlit games area.

It is designed to offer strong street frontages and screen homes from neighbouring industrial land.

Architects Halliday Fraser Munro explained: “We have looked at several options and layouts to visually break long elevations into smaller widths with pushing forward prominent feature gables and expressing these elements with higher ‘tower’ parapet detailing.”

Each block will be faced in a mix of buff brick and metal standing seam.

NHS Grampian key worker homes plan recommended for refusal

View of internal street

View of internal street

Plans for a housing development which aims to attract key health workers to the north-east have been recommended for refusal by Aberdeen councillors.

NHS Grampian lodged proposals with Aberdeen City Council late last year to create 110 homes on the former nurses’ accommodation complex at Foresterhill Court at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary.

Drafted in conjunction with Grampian Housing Association and designed by Halliday Fraser Munro, the proposed key worker accommodation would not only be used for NHS staff but for emergency workers and teachers.

But a report by Aberdeen City Council planning officers outlines the impact on green space and the character of the area as among reasons to reject the development.

An NHS Grampian spokeswoman told the Evening Express: “We are deeply disappointed by the recommendation of Aberdeen City Council officers.

“It is no secret the high cost of living in Aberdeen is having an impact on our ability to recruit and retain staff.

“This, in turn, is having an impact on our ability to properly serve the health needs of the local population.”

She added: “Both NHS Grampian and Grampian Housing Association have written directly to elected members to outline our position.

“We hope they will consider this information carefully prior to their meeting next week.”

View of shared surface courtyard

View of shared surface courtyard

The project, which would have seen the existing NHS staff building demolished, was hoped to be completed by the winter of 2017.

Councillors will decide whether or not to give the development the go ahead at the planning development management committee meeting on Thursday.

In its reasons for the recommendation the report states: “The proposed development would by reason of its scale, siting, and quantum of the development result in the loss of open space, urban green space.”

It added it would harm the quality of the landscape and adversely affect the character of the area.

Craig Stirrat, director of business development at Grampian Housing Association, said: “It is extremely disappointing that Aberdeen City Council’s planning officers are recommending refusal of our joint development with NHS Grampian at Foresterhill Court.

“In particular, the development would help NHS Grampian address its staffing shortage which is linked to the lack of affordable housing within the city for key workers.”

Student accommodation plan for Aberdeen’s Triple Kirks given green light

Triple Kirks student planPlans to develop the former Triple Kirks site in the heart of Aberdeen into a world-class new accommodation facility for academics have been approved.

The derelict church has lain empty for many years, and the 13-storey project will include 175 studio flats and 166 en-suite rooms.

Developer Dandara also plans to include a cafe, gym and various activity rooms in the £20 million scheme.

Aberdeen City Council’s planning development management committee convener, councillor Ramsay Milne, said he thought the proposal was “better quality” than previous plans for an office complex which were shelved due to a change in market conditions. The firm bought the derelict Triple Kirks site from the Stewart Milne Group, which had secured planning permission for an office development.

Halliday Fraser Munro were retained as architects following the change.

NHS Grampian plans new homes to attract key workers

View of shared surface courtyard

View of shared surface courtyard

More than 100 homes for health workers could be built as part of NHS Grampian’s battle to attract staff to the north-east.

The health board has taken the first step towards creating “key worker” accommodation at Foresterhill Court on Burnside Gardens, after submitting a planning application to Aberdeen City Council.

Drafted in conjunction with Grampian Housing Association and designed by Halliday Fraser Munro, the plans will see 110 flats built and the existing NHS staff building demolished.

Gerry Lawrie, deputy director of workforce with NHS Grampian, said the plans outline how the site – which currently houses a disused bowling green and overgrown allotments – to provide housing for over 200 staff is deemed “essential” for the board.

She said: “Recruitment of specialist staff has long been a challenge for all public sector organisations in the north-east and it is no different for NHS Grampian. It is well known that one of the biggest obstacles is the relatively high cost of housing – and the provision of key worker accommodation is one of the ways we are aiming to alleviate that.”

View of internal street

View of internal street

The embattled health board has recently announced a number of new measures to increase staffing numbers including a scheme to bring back former nurses to wards. In October, Audit Scotland revealed staff turnover at hospitals in the north and north-east was the highest in Scotland. But recently- released figures show that more than 300 new staff members have joined NHS Grampian over the past year following a major recruitment drive.

Neil Clapperton, chief executive of Grampian Housing Association, said: “We are pleased to be working with NHS Grampian on this exciting project which sees the realisation of the association’s plans to expand its provision of housing to key workers.

“We are acutely aware of the need for affordable homes to attract and retain public sector workers to the north-east and are committed to addressing the current shortage in partnership with employers.”

The flats would form part of the £150 million redevelopment of Foresterhill announced in August, which also includes the creation of the Baird Family Hospital, a new cancer centre and the relocation of Foresterhill Health Centre.