An Aberdeen shopping centre still plans to deliver a major expansion project – despite major setbacks hitting the city’s retail scene.
The Bon Accord Centre has planning permission for a major redevelopment which includes a hotel and a roof over part of George Street.
Proposals for a cinema were also lodged earlier this year.
A number of units within the facility are also vacant, casting doubt on whether it will go ahead with its expansion plans.
The centre’s management confirmed it still hopes to go ahead with the ambitious proposals.
However, they reiterated the need to “remain flexible” due to changes which have taken place in the local economy.
Centre manager Craig Stevenson said: “Bon Accord continues to collaborate with organisations such as Aberdeen Inspired, Aberdeen and Grampian Chamber of Commerce and Aberdeen City Council to support the regeneration of the city centre.
“Plans set out in 2017 remain part of the centre’s long-term ambition to repurpose vacant retail space and continue to deliver a thriving retail and leisure destination in the heart of the city.
“However it is clear that the economy has changed significantly, and plans must remain flexible to adapt to the changing needs of customers.”
North-east Conservative candidate Liam Kerr, who previously met with bosses at John Lewis over their plans to close, said the Covid-19 pandemic had placed “significant pressure” on the city’s retail sector.
He wrote to senior Bon Accord executives requesting an update on the expansion plans for the shopping centre.
“The Bon Accord Centre has been the heartbeat of retail in the city for more than 20 years and everyone including myself is desperate for it to remain as an attractive destination for shoppers,” he said.
“Given the extensive other closures in the centre I am keen to understand the impact of these closures on the expansion plans, not least given if John Lewis closes, the building will be a potentially huge empty space at the heart of them.
“These proposals have been in the pipeline for many years and I know a lot of hard work has gone in with the shopping centre and the council to get to this point.
“It would be so disappointing if the events experienced in the last year had a detrimental impact on them.”