Draft masterplans agreed for AECC sites

AECC newProposed masterplans for the new and current Aberdeen Exhibition and Conference Centre (AECC) sites are to go out for public feedback after they were backed by councillors.

Proposals for the new 10,000-seater AECC arena at Rowett North in Bucksburn, which would include an energy centre and three hotels, were in front of Aberdeen City Council’s communities, housing and infrastructure committee yesterday.

Councillors unanimously agreed to begin a consultation process on the planning frameworks which will guide proposals for both locations, at Rowett North and plans for more than 500 homes which would replace the existing AECC at the Bridge of Don.

The consultations for both draft masterplans will both take place over a six-week period.

Plans for the new AECC include a 10,000-capacity concert hall, conference facilities, three hotels, an energy centre and an environmentally-friendly plan to generate gas from household waste.

Work on the new £333 million venue could begin within the next four years.

Meanwhile, the existing centre, which generates more than £80m for the north-east economy every year, could eventually be turned into a mixed-use scheme, including a 518-home residential scheme, and is earmarked as an “opportunity site” in the emerging local development plan.

Communities housing and infrastructure convener, Councillor Neil Cooney, said: “I would urge as many people as possible to get involved and have their say on the draft masterplans for these two development sites.

“The proposals for a new Aberdeen Exhibition and Conference Centre are included within the city council’s Strategic Infrastructure Plan and it is important that the public have the opportunity to view the framework documents and make comments if they wish to do so.”

The Rowett North site is owned by the University of Aberdeen. The strategic decision to relocate the AECC followed an evaluation of the age of the current complex and its ability to host major events in the future.

The council has an agreement with Henry Boot Developments Ltd for the development of the Rowett North site.

The draft masterplan aims to establish design-led planning guidance that will inform what is expected to be a mixed-use development with the new AECC building as its centrepiece.

Under the terms of the approved masterplan process, the draft document has already been made available to the Dyce and Stoneywood Community Council and Bucksburn and Newhills Community Council for information.

The existing AECC site has been identified in the Proposed Aberdeen Local Development Plan (2015) as an opportunity site. The masterplan framework aims to reduce the risk of piecemeal and inappropriate development of the site.

It is hoped that it will reduce time in determining any future planning application by encouraging acceptable forms of development to be agreed publicly.

The framework also contributes towards meeting the demand for housing in the city, with a 25 per cent affordable housing provision across the site.

The results of the consultation processes will be reported back to the committee, along with any proposed revisions to the draft masterplans, at a later date.

The proposals can be viewed online at www.aberdeencity.gov.uk/masterplanning or a hard copy can be obtained at Marischal College from the planning and sustainable development service.

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