A plan to create new public space at Schoolhill took a step forward yesterday after the business case was presented to committee.
Aberdeen councillors agreed to go forward with the first stage with approval for funding up to £550,000 for improvements to widen the pavement beside the Art Gallery and Cowdray Hall and reduce the carriageway width at Schoolhill.
The project comes in advance of the long-awaited reopening of the Art Gallery in 2019 which should draw more visitors to the area.
The gallery, which is currently undergoing a £30m refurbishment, has been delayed by more than a year.
However, SNP group leader Stephen Flynn questioned council officers on why the project was only coming to fruition at this late stage.
He said: “Had it not been for substantial delays the art gallery would have been open.
“Why is it we have heard now, why has it not come to us a long time ago?”
Stephen Booth, corporate landlord chief officer, admitted the plan hadn’t advanced “as soon as it should have”.
Councillors heard from officers that design work had been progressed by a consultant but the local authority was “less than satisfied” so it was brought back in house.
The council also said it was “in the process” of creating detailed designs for the work and that these would be brought back to committee in the autumn.
The project will go to two further committees including the council’s city growth and resources committee in June with a recommendation for councillors to approve the budget.