let there be LIGHT!

Plans for fes­tive lights at shop­ping cen­tre given go-ahead

Evening Express (City Final) - - News - By Adele Mer­son

PLANS to light up part of Aberdeen over the fes­tive pe­riod have been given the go-ahead.

Own­ers of the Bon Ac­cord and St Ni­cholas shop­ping cen­tre want to put up two light­ing fea­tures – one at School­hill be­tween the two cen­tres and another be­hind the cen­tre on Ge­orge Street.

There had been con­cern the bolts used to hold up the dis­play – called the Ceil­ing of Light – could po­ten­tially break the rules on what can be done to change listed build­ings.

A to­tal of 14 bolt fix­ings are pro­posed, in­clud­ing six fix­ing points on listed build­ings in Ge­orge Street and Up­perkirk­gate.

The coun­cil’s pre­ferred op­tion was for the fix­ing points to be se­cured into build­ing mor­tar but, due to the strength of fix­ing re­quired, this was not con­sid­ered pos­si­ble.

A re­port by coun­cil plan­ners said the fix­tures should be ap­proved on the con­di­tion they will only be used from Oc­to­ber to March.

Outwith this pe­riod, the lights will be re­moved and the fix­ings capped with cov­ers to match the colour of the stonework.

The re­port added: “A sup­port­ing state­ment pro­vided with the ap­pli­ca­tion stated that, in or­der to en­sure the lights were sus­pended se­curely, the fix­ing an­chors must be con­tained within the block­work, as an­chors con­tained within the mor­tar joints would be more sus­cep­ti­ble to fail­ure and may re­sult in greater dam­age to the wall.

“Over­all, the pro­posed scheme is con­sid­ered to be the most suit­able to en­able the in­stal­la­tion of sea­sonal light­ing and would pre­serve the spe­cial in­ter­est of the listed build­ing.”

A de­sign state­ment for the ap­pli­ca­tion said the pro­pos­als will pro­vide for an “en­hanced con­nec­tion” and “public realm ex­pe­ri­ence” be­tween the Bon Ac­cord and St Ni­cholas Shop­ping Cen­tres, par­tic­u­larly for evening shop­pers in the au­tumn and win­ter months of the year.

The light­ing it­self does not re­quire con­sent – only fix­ings to the listed build­ings.

Aberdeen City Cen­tre Com­mu­nity Coun­cil chair­man and plan­ning of­fi­cer Dustin Mac­don­ald said: “I am de­lighted the coun­cil has granted per­mis­sion.

“I am also pleased they have put con­di­tions in place to en­sure that the lights can only be used for part of the year. “Other places, like Glas­gow, have sim­i­lar light­ing, but it is up all through the year, and I think that makes the lights lose their magic.”

Mr Mac­don­ald said he was pleased that Aberdeen was gear­ing up so well for Christ­mas, with plans for a Ger­man mar­ket food and drink out­let with seat­ing out­side Union Square and a Christ­mas mar­ket in Broad Street and Up­perkirk­gate.

He added: “The Ceil­ing of Light will add to that and will spread some fes­tive cheer around the city.

“The lights are es­pe­cially good when the nights are grow­ing darker - they make the sky come to life.

“Other cities, such as Lon­don, have su­perb Christ­mas shop­ping of­fer­ings and they have be­come a tourist at­trac­tion in their own right.

“It would be great if Aberdeen could reach that level and I am pleased that the city is mov­ing in the right di­rec­tion with such a di­verse of­fer­ing for Christ­mas shop­pers.”

O “Wel­come bright idea to city cen­tre”, Page 18

The city is mov­ing in the right di­rec­tion

Fes­tive: What The Ceil­ing of Light at School­hill could look like.

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