A consultation has begun over guidance aimed at helping residents in eight Aberdeen multi-storey blocks which were recently given protected status.
Historic Environment Scotland (HES) announced the controversial decision to list the buildings – Gilcomstoun Land, Porthill Court, Seamount Court, Virginia Court, Marischal Court, Thistle Court, Hutcheon Court, and Greig Court – earlier this year.
A-listed status means they have the same protected status as Marischal College and Aberdeen Music Hall, and denotes “outstanding historical significance”.
Traffic light system proposed
Aberdeen City Council planning officials have now prepared a document containing guidance for residents, aimed at answering questions they may have regarding listed building consent or planning permission.
The local authority is proposing a “traffic-light system”, with proposed works on the buildings categorised as green, amber or red.
A consultation on the draft guidance has opened and will run until June 14.
They have asked the Directorate for Planning and Environmental Appeals (DPEA) at the Scottish Government to consider the eight individual appeals for each high-rise collectively.
‘Flats fail to meet listing criteria’
Through its lawyers Montagu Evans LLP, the local authority said: “It is the Appellant’s submission that the multi-storey flats fail to meet the listing criteria, both individually and as a group. In addition, there are other material grounds which are wholly relevant in the determination of this appeal and ought to be considered by Scottish Ministers.”
HES plans to use them to tell the story of how Scotland emerged from the Second World War.
However, in its appeals Aberdeen City Council has argued that the buildings do not meet the listing criteria, and the extent of the listed status.
It has also claimed the decision to grant protected status would “present significant challenges for the council as corporate landlord”, as well as the negative public view of the buildings in the city.
Listing would ‘impact economic development’ of sites
Further claims state the designation will have a “critical impact on the economic development” of the sites, and that it will cause “unreasonable additional costs”.
The local authority also argued against the timing of the listing, given it has been unable to access relevant materials and documents because of Covid-19 restrictions.
At the time a spokeswoman for HES said: “In January, HES listed eight multi-storey buildings in Aberdeen at Category A in recognition of their outstanding architectural and historic interest.
“We are aware that Aberdeen City Council are appealing the decision to list these buildings. The appeals are now with the DPEA division of the Scottish Government, and we await their decision.”