let there be LIGHT!
Plans for festive lights at shopping centre given go-ahead
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.