Aberdeen University ‘considering options’ as halls lie empty for first time in decades

Alex McLellan at Crombie Johnston Halls

A block of flats at the University of Aberdeen is lying empty for the first time in decades as students turn away from catered accommodation.

Crombie Johnston Halls, at the university’s Old Aberdeen campus, has offered students their own rooms and freshly prepared meals for 50 years.

But this term the 402-room halls of residence complex is vacant.

A spokesman for the university said the expansion of the Hillhead Halls of Residence, beside Seaton Park, has played a part.

He said: “Our multi-million pound investment in the new Hillhead Student Village has allowed us to consolidate the bulk of our student accommodation in one location.

“Our investment there, combined with our students’ preference for self-catering accommodation, means that we are no longer providing accommodation at Crombie Johnston halls.

“The university is considering options for the future use of the building.” Gordon Mutch, chairman of Old Aberdeen Community Council, hopes the buildings can be refurbished and still used as student flats.

He said: “The closure of Crombie Johnston is a concern, and we would like to see the site continue as halls of residence following a revamp.”

Old Aberdeen councillor Alexander McLellan suggested developers may now have second thoughts about building more student accommodation in the city.

He said: “I was surprised to find out that the on-campus halls were closed due to lack of demand for catered accommodation.

“Although, I understand the university has to adapt to the wants of its students.

“This makes me wonder how many more purpose built student accommodation buildings Aberdeen actually needs.”