Planners have recommended flattening a historic Aberdeen landmark to make way for a £100 million “urban village”.
Broadford Works, which was once home to the largest collection of category A-listed buildings at risk in Scotland, has been taken over by developer Inhabit, which plans to transform it into 460 homes, shops and offices.
The city council’s planning committee has been urged to approve plans to demolish parts of the Grey Mill, including the oldest iron-framed mill in Scotland – and the fourth oldest known to survive in the world.
A spokeswoman for Inhabit said: “We welcome Aberdeen City Council’s recommendation and looks forward to the application being considered by city councillors. The plans for Broadford Works include the preservation and restoration of a number of historic buildings, including parts of the Grey Mill.
“Our ambitious plans for the site will support the city’s growth for the next 25 years by delivering a high quality, mixed-use development that sits alongside the City Centre Masterplan.”
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The Architectural Heritage Society of Scotland, which objected to the plans, said: “In a city of such distinction as Aberdeen, with its great history of solving difficult engineering problems, it can hardly be beyond its collective wit to figure out how these buildings can be now saved and re-used.”
But in their report planners said the applicant has provided evidence, which has been independently verified, that if the site-wide proposals included the retention and repair of the Old and South mills, the “entire development would be considered unviable”.
They added: “Old and South Grey Mills are considered repairable, but at great expense and re-use options are limited by the type of structure, which further affects viability.
“The significance of the buildings is in their construction, rather than external appearance, therefore facade retention is not a worthwhile approach.”
Planners have insisted on eight different conditions, should the application be granted when councillors meet on Wednesday, including a scheme for reusing granite.