Planning permission in principle for £200m expansion of Aberdeen’s Union Square

Plans for a £200 million expansion of the Union Square shopping centre in Aberdeen have been given the green light.

Owners Hammerson have now been granted planning permission in principle for a major extension, which would include space for 30 new retailers and a 120-bedroom hotel.

Under the plans, which were first submitted in February 2016, there will be new leisure space, an expanded cinema, as well as reconfiguration of part of the centre’s existing shopping area.

Up to 1,000 new car parking spaces were also earmarked, however planners at Aberdeen City Council have limited this to 294 spaces with the intention of preventing any negative impact on nearby roads.

Although the project’s final design has not yet been finalised, the expansion is planned to be built into the current surface car park and extended along Market Street.

In approving the application, planners said the application would “promote vitality and viability” in the city centre.

Ryan Manson, general manager of Union Square, said: “We are pleased with the council’s decision to approve the application, one which aligns with the aspirations of the Aberdeen City Centre Masterplan (CCMP).

“The approval provides a statement of confidence in Aberdeen’s long-term future as a leading retail destination and the potential to continue to offer new and exciting retailers and restaurants alongside expanding our leisure provision within the city.

“We look forward to continuing to work with our customers, Aberdeen City Council, and all of our stakeholders.”

Aberdeen City Council co-leaders Jenny Laing and Douglas Lumsden welcomed the news, and argued the development is a vote of confidence in the city’s economy.

Mrs Laing said: “This significant investment by Hammerson shows their confidence in Aberdeen’s long-term future.

“We remain committed to the city centre masterplan, and will continue to work with partners from both the public and private sectors to ensure a vibrant city centre going forward.”

Further detailed planning applications are expected to come forward revealing details of the scheme.

The centre has been told by planners to carry out improvements to the pedestrian route between Union Square and the city centre, costed at £546,000, along with a cycle hub and improvements to the bus station.

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