A long-awaited road improvement project has taken a “significant step” towards being delivered – but campaigners say they have been left disappointed.
Aberdeen City Council’s planning development management committee approved the first part of the Berryden Corridor, a major project aimed at cutting journey times and easing congestion, as well as encouraging active travel.
A new road will be constructed between the Kittybrewster/St Machar roundabout and Ashgrove, with a dual carriageway created.
It also means footways and cycle paths will be created, along with street lighting, drainage and other infrastructure.
The Berryden Corridor Improvement Project also involves widening the existing road and improving the junctions between Skene Square and Ashgrove Road.
Council transport spokeswoman Sandra Macdonald said: “The planning permission granted is welcome news for the Berryden Corridor Improvement Project.
“It is a significant step towards delivering this roads network scheme which will help journey time reliability, relieve congestion, and improve infrastructure for walking and cycling.
“I look forward to the next stage of the project.”
More than a mile of extra pavements will be created, along with two miles of additional cycle track.
However, Aberdeen Cycle Forum had earlier lodged an objection to the proposals – and chairwoman Rachel Martin said the body was “very disappointed” by the decision to approve the project.
She said: “This is something the forum has been against for a long time. It is absolutely the wrong move to be expanding road capacity.
“All this will do is bring more pollution and traffic into the city centre, and will encourage more car use when we should be promoting active travel.
“It is disappointing on every level. It’s going to be hugely expensive at a time when we are facing a huge economic problem.”
Despite a number of objections to the scheme, councillors voted the project through unanimously.
Committee member John Cooke, who had earlier raised concerns about noise and traffic, said he had been satisfied by council officers’ assurances.
He said: “I did have a number of concerns about traffic volumes and noise on the Berryden Corridor application, but was reassured by officers.
“In particular, I was able to get confirmation that properties affected by noise may be eligible for funding under the Noise Insulation (Scotland) Regulations 1975, and that the council will contact residents who might qualify to make them aware of this.”
Plans for the section between Skene Square and Ashgrove Road are expected to come forward at future meetings.
Parts of that section, such as Caroline Place, fall within listed building and conservation areas.
Meanwhile, councillors also approved plans for a multi-million-pound elective care unit at Foresterhill Health Campus.
The development had been described as a “one-stop shop” for respiratory, dermatology and urology patients, and will increase the number of people who can be seen by specialists or who require an endoscopy or minor surgery.
It will see an extension added to the existing ward block at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary.
Committee member Martin Greig said: “This is a welcome proposal that will improve the way that care is provided. These new and enhanced facilities will be much appreciated and add to our local provision of health services.
“This is a real step forward giving a much needed expansion of space to carry out the important responsibiities of looking after people.”
In June, NHS Grampian approved additional funding of up to £1 million for changes that may be needed for the site, to consider if the clinical scope of the project needs to be altered due to Covid-19, and any assessment on how it may impact the building process.
A number of decisions have been attached to the decision to approve the development, including installing cycle parking for short and long stay, and reports around bird hazard, environmental enhancements for the area, energy statements, landscaping and water drainage arrangements are carried out.