Nearly 500 homes will be built on the site of what was Aberdeen’s premiere entertainment venue for decades.
The former Aberdeen Exhibition and Conference Centre (AECC), which was rendered redundant after the new P&J Live venue opened in 2019, has long been earmarked for redevelopment.
Demolition of the main arena – which played host to some of the biggest names in showbiz between 1985 and 2019 – was carried out last year, after work was initially delayed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
A section of the complex closest to Ellon Road, including its tower, was bought by King’s Community Church last year and is also now home to Aberdeen North food bank.
Proposals to turn the rest of the area into a housing development were submitted six years ago after it emerged the events site would close.
Development will fill ‘dead space’
Now permission has been granted in principle for the redevelopment of the exhibition centre to go ahead, subject to a number of conditions.
When completed, the site will include approximately 498 homes, as well as a recycling facility and a park and ride.
Bridge of Don councillor John Reynolds said the redevelopment of the site would “get some life back” in the area.
“I am glad something is happening there, and I will be even more pleased when the development starts,” he added.
“At the moment the site is dead space. The quicker it happens, the better it will be for the rest of the community.”
£2 million to improve facilities
Notifying Henry Boot Developments Ltd, the developer behind the proposals, Aberdeen City Council’s planning development manager Daniel Lewis described the plans as “acceptable”.
But his blessing came with the proviso that financial contributions from the developer go towards schools, road improvements, healthcare, sports and recreation facilities locally.
Some of the other conditions attached to the planning permission include the improvement of safe walking and cycling infrastructure and approval of the design by council planners.
More than £2 million in developer contributions is to be provided, with more than £450,000 to be put towards improvements at Scotstown Primary, £510,000 for healthcare and £900,000 for community facilities.
Anti-social behaviour blights area
Since the exhibition centre was closed to the public, residents say the site has become a magnet for anti-social behaviour.
Residents living around King Robert’s Way and Morrison’s Croft Crescent contacted Aberdeen Journals earlier this year to raise concerns about youths drinking, playing loud music and even holding car races.
Bridge of Don councillor Alison Alphonse previously described the behaviour as “utterly selfish”.
Reacting to the news planning permission had been granted, she said: “There is still a problem with boy and girl-racers, and I have had a lot of complaints from people in the area.
“However, I will be happy to see some life back in the area, and it might help reduce the anti-social behaviour.”