GREEN LIGHT TO FLATTEN EYESORE OFFICE BLOCK
Approval granted for ambitious plaza plans
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