‘De­vel­oper left city her­itage ly­ing on the ground’

De­vel­op­ment: Row af­ter arte­fact left un­at­tached

The Press and Journal (Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire) - - FRONT PAGE - BY KIERAN BEAT­TIE

Coun­cil chiefs have ac­cused a con­trac­tor of leav­ing a key piece of the city’s history “ly­ing around” af­ter a 344-year-old plaque from Aberdeen’s old­est sur­viv­ing house was left propped up against a wall.

The spe­cial ar­mo­rial panel, dat­ing back to 1673, had adorned a stone arch­way of Provost Skene House, prior to the project to re­de­velop the site into a more mod­ern mu­seum, fit­ting in with the sur­round­ing Marischal Square.

The suc­cess­ful plan­ning ap­pli­ca­tion to re­de­velop parts of the cat­e­gory Alisted build­ing in­cluded a con­di­tion for the “sal­vaging and re-use of the ar­mo­rial panel”, and con­trac­tors Mor­gan Sin­dall said plans were in place to re-fit the panel into the newly reposi- tioned arch­way by the end of the week.

How­ever, coun­cil­lors have raised con­cerns about the con­trac­tor’s ac­tions af­ter the panel was spot­ted out in the open, lean­ing against the wall of the Provost Skene House last Thurs­day, on Mon­day af­ter­noon and yes­ter­day morn­ing.

It had been re­moved from the side of the house by yes­ter­day lunchtime.

A spokesman for Mor­gan Sin­dall claimed last night: “The ar­mo­rial plaque has been in safe stor­age for a num­ber of months while the rede­vel­op­ment of Marischal Square has pro­gressed.

“As the de­vel­op­ment nears its fi­nal com­ple­tion, the plaque is ready to be re­in­stated in its orig­i­nal po­si­tion.

“This was due to take place yes­ter­day and the stone was po­si­tioned next to the wall ready to be fit­ted.

“How­ever, the works were post­poned and the plaque was moved back in­side a short time later.

“The plaque will be re­fit­ted in its orig­i­nal place by the end of the week.”

When asked ex­actly how long the plaque had been left lean­ing against Provost Skene House, the de­vel­oper re­fused to com­ment.

Ge­orge Street and Har­bour councillor Michael Hutchi­son said: “It’s as­tound­ing such an his­toric panel has just been left ly­ing,

“The plaque will be re­fit­ted in its orig­i­nal place by the end of week”

and I will be de­mand­ing an­swers about how that has been al­lowed to hap­pen, along with as­sur­ances that the panel is now some­where more se­cure.

“This in­dif­fer­ence to our city’s her­itage is com­pletely un­ac­cept­able.

“The ad­min­is­tra­tion has been so ob­sessed with their fu­ture li­a­bil­i­ties they’ve for­got­ten to safe­guard our past.”

Aberdeen City Coun­cil co-leader Dou­glas Lums­den said: “This isn’t ac­cept­able.

“The her­itage of Aberdeen is some­thing we should seek to pre­serve, not leave ly­ing around.

“I’ve since been given as­sur­ances that the plaque is now be­ing stored cor­rectly.”

“I will be writ­ing to the de­vel­oper to com­plain about this lack of care. The peo­ple of Aberdeen right­fully ex­pect bet­ter.”

Pho­to­graph by Kami Thomson

CON­CERN: Councillor Michael Hutchi­son at Provost Skene House with the ar­mo­rial panel left ly­ing out.

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