Planners recommend partial demolition of Broadford Works

Plans to demolish a significant part of Aberdeen’s historic Broadford Works building to make way for a £100 million ‘urban village’ have been recommended for approval.

Developer Inhabit plans to transform the former textile factory into 460 homes and accommodation for 430 students. The ‘urban village’ will also include commercial office space, shops, restaurants and cafes set in a landscaped environment.

The site, which has lain vacant since 2004, was once home to the largest collection of category A-listed buildings at risk in Scotland.

The city council’s planning committee has been urged to approve plans to demolish parts of the Grey Mill, including the oldest iron-framed mill in Scotland – and the fourth oldest known to survive in the world.

Inhabit maintains the demolition is necessary as it would be too costly and unsafe to retain it as it currently stands.

City council planners have now recommended next week’s planning committee conditionally approve the plans for the partial demolition.

In their report, planners said the applicant has provided evidence, which has been independently verified, that if the site-wide proposals included the retention and repair of the Old and South mills, the “entire development would be considered unviable”.

They added: “Old and South Grey Mills are considered repairable, but at great expense and reuse options are limited by the type of structure, which further affects viability.

“The significance of the buildings is in their construction, rather than external appearance, therefore facade retention is not a worthwhile approach.”

A spokeswoman for Inhabit said: “We welcome Aberdeen City Council’s recommendation and look forward to the application being considered by city councillors. The plans for Broadford Works include the preservation and restoration of a number of historic buildings, including parts of the Grey Mill.

“Our ambitious plans for the site will support the city’s growth for the next 25 years by delivering a high-quality, mixed-use development that sits alongside the City Centre Masterplan.”

Planners have insisted on eight different conditions, should the application be granted when councillors meet on Wednesday, including a scheme for reusing granite.

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