Heritage chiefs have been urged to think again about the decision to award eight high-rise blocks in Aberdeen the same protected status as the city’s most iconic buildings.
It means the buildings have the same protected status as Marischal College and Aberdeen Music Hall.
A furious backlash greeted the announcement, with city leaders criticising HES for failing to take into account local opinion.
Leaders of Aberdeen City Council, which owns a number of properties within the blocks, said the decision would cost the authority money, as well as hindering its ability to improve the buildings.
Stephen Flynn, the MP for Aberdeen South, set up a petition urging HES to reverse the controversial decision.
He said: “My inbox is full of people who are rightly outraged at this decision – not least because of the potential financial pressures facing residents.
“It seems clear to me that politicians across the political parties are against this move, the council is against it – and it’s time for the public to make their views clear too.
“This is about what’s best for residents, owners and our city – Historic Environment Scotland must reverse their decision.”
Meanwhile, Aberdeen Central MSP Kevin Stewart – the Scottish Government’s housing minister – wrote to both HES and culture minister Fiona Hyslop, and branded the decision “ludicrous”.
He added: “Historic Environment Scotland appear to have ignored the fact that people live in these blocks and that the implications of A-listed status will be severe in terms of restrictions on remedial and repair work.
“Beyond that, this decision will put at risk future energy efficiency measures and district heating installations to the blocks.”
The buildings – Gilcomstoun Land, Porthill Court, Seamount Court, Virginia Court, Marischal Court, Thistle Court, Hutcheon Court and Greig Court – were described by HES as “some of the finest examples of social housing Scotland”.
The organisation plans to use them to tell the story of how Scotland emerged from the Second World War.
However, council co-leader Douglas Lumsden said the move could delay or even prevent vital work being carried out in residents’ homes.
He said: “This decision shows how out of touch HES are. It is the craziest decision people in this city will have ever heard.
“I am concerned about the implications of this. It may mean bathrooms and kitchens don’t get done up, and it may mean the council has to spend a great deal more money to get the same amount of work done.
“Nobody agrees with this decision. It is completely barmy.”
A report on the possible financial implications of the move will go before the local authority’s city growth and resources committee next month.
An Aberdeen City Council spokeswoman said: “We are aware of the decision by HES to list eight multi-storey buildings in Aberdeen city centre.
“Council officers are considering the implications of this decision and are assessing the options to allow this to be reported to a future committee in due course.”
A spokesman for HES said: “We are aware of the petition regarding the listing of the Aberdeen flats. Prior to the decision, we conducted an extensive public consultation which included meeting with local residents to hear their views.
“Throughout this process, we have provided consistent reassurance to Aberdeen City Council, residents and other stakeholders that listing will not prevent routine like-for-like repairs or maintenance.
“We have offered to work closely with the council on energy efficiency research at the flats to help to ensure that they remain fit for purpose, and have also made them aware that we support the principle of a district heating system for the multi-storey flats. The listing will not stop this should the council wish to proceed.
“There is a legal right of appeal against any listing decision for owners, occupiers and tenants which can be submitted to the Planning and Environmental Appeals Division of Scottish Government.”
A Scottish Government spokeswoman said: “Historic Environment Scotland is responsible for designating listed buildings, independent of ministers.”