GREEN LIGHT TO FLAT­TEN EYE­SORE OF­FICE BLOCK

Ap­proval granted for am­bi­tious plaza plans

Evening Express (City Final) - - Front Page - BY EMMA MORRICE

PLAN­NING per­mis­sion to de­mol­ish an “eye­sore” city cen­tre of­fice block to cre­ate a new plaza has been granted. Un­der the scheme, the ap­pli­ca­tions says part of the Atholl House build­ing on Guild Street will be de­mol­ished to al­low for a mixed-use de­vel­op­ment – which could in­clude stu­dent ac­com­mo­da­tion, a ho­tel, re­tail and food and drink premises. It would also see the cre­ation of a new pub­lic plaza. It is hoped that by cre­at­ing the new de­vel­op­ment, it will im­prove con­nec­tions be­tween the main shop­ping area of the city and the train sta­tion and pro­vide a shel­tered pub­lic square at street level. Adrian Wat­son, chief ex­ec­u­tive of Aberdeen In­spired, said: “We wel­come the news that plans for Atholl House have been approved. “If these come to fruition, it will be a pos­i­tive step as the de­vel­op­ment pro­pos­als and sig­nif­i­cant in­vest­ment will re­gen­er­ate an im­por­tant part of the city cen­tre, as well as fit­ting in within the wider mas­ter­plan. “It will in­ject new vi­tal­ity into the area and po­ten­tially en­able im­proved con­nec­tiv­ity which will have a good knock-on ef­fect in the heart of Aberdeen.” Hal­l­i­day Fraser Munro sub­mit­ted the plans on be­half of CLS Aberdeen Ltd in 2016. The orig­i­nal Atholl House build­ing, now va­cant, was built in 1970. It has housed a num­ber of dif­fer­ent com­pa­nies, in­clud­ing oil and gas firms and the Crown Of­fice and Procu­ra­tor Fis­cal Ser­vice. Councillor Michael Hutchi­son said: “What we have just now is a fairly ugly eye­sore on the edge of a con­ser­va­tion area. “I ex­pect its de­mo­li­tion will help to im­prove the area. “I’m sur­prised the 17-storey re­place­ment didn’t draw more com­ments from the pub­lic given its scale and promi­nence.” A de­sign state­ment pro­vided by Hal­l­i­day Fraser Munro said the site is lo­cated be­tween “two of Aberdeen’s busiest des­ti­na­tions, Union Street to the north and Aberdeen Sta­tion/union Square” giv­ing it “a high pedes­trian foot­fall”. A re­port by Aberdeen City Coun­cil of­fi­cers said: “As the build­ing which would be de­mol­ished has no fea­tures of spe­cial ar­chi­tec­tural or his­toric in­ter­est, and is con­sid­ered to be vis­ually dis­cor­dant with the his­toric char­ac­ter of the con­ser­va­tion area, the de­mo­li­tion could there­fore be seen to en­hance the char­ac­ter of the con­ser­va­tion area.” CLS Aberdeen Ltd was un­avail­able for com­ment.

The last plans sub­mit­ted for the Atholl House site in 2016 and, in­set, the build­ing is to be de­mol­ished

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