AHSS Objects to Pitlochry Station Footbridge Replacement Plan

The Tayside & East Fife Cases Panel is concerned by plans to replace Pitlochry Station’s footbridge. After careful consideration, we’ve issued a strong objection to removing the existing footbridge.

Pitlochry Station holds a Category A-listed status, meaning it’s of special architectural or historic interest, “an outstanding example of a traditional railway station, demonstrating specific characteristics of the Highland Railway Company station building of the 19th century.”

The proposal aims to swap out the old cast iron footbridge for a modern accessible one, complete with lifts for easy platform access. While making things more accessible is fantastic, the suggested plan is not sympathetic to the station’s significance.

Several options for ‘accessibility solutions’ were explored, but the only practical one considered was replacing the historic footbridge. The proposed design doesn’t align with the Local Development Plan, which emphasises that any alterations shouldn’t harm the building’s architectural or historic interest. We fear the change might irrevocably damage the station’s integrity.

It would seem that a range of alternatives are possible. We have suggested that keeping the existing footbridge and discreetly adding a new, less obtrusive bridge elsewhere might be an option, i.e.  a modern structure behind the old bridge, blending in and ensuring accessibility without significant impact on the station’s heritage.

An argument is also made for removing the bridge due to potential future train line changes. Instead, why not consider raising the bridge itself? It’s a feasible solution used elsewhere that wouldn’t harm the station’s historic significance.

In essence, we firmly believe that removing the footbridge isn’t necessary. There are alternative routes to creating accessibility without compromising the station’s significance. We are not alone in taking this view – the strength of local feeling about this issue is evident in the 25 objections received from the community. 

Read our objection letter.

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Controversial development of vacant Aberdeen offices given ‘green light’ despite objections

The AHSS has objected to the development of B-listed Denburn House, Aberdeen, which proposes 72 flatted dwellings within the city centre offices (211326/LBC & 211331/DPP)

The development at 20-25 Union Terrace encompasses three buildings, formerly the Aberdeen County Offices, designed by A. Marshall Mackenzie circa 1896-97 (numbers 20 & 22), and A.G. Sydney Mitchell & Wilson, 1902 (number 25).

In September 2021, two applications were submitted by Wardman Brown Architects, Darlington, on behalf of the client, Mandale Homes. The Listed Building Consent, which sought permission for new and replacement windows, along with internal alterations associated with the development, attracted three letters of objection, including representation from the AHSS and the Aberdeen Civic Society.

The letter of objection, sent on behalf of the AHSS North East, stated “The buildings into which these would be put deserve much attention, and imaginative re-use. In terms of sizes, planning, and their spatial aspects [eg why should they all have the same minimum ceiling heights?] the host structures could accommodate a much wider range of ambition. Parts might be used as a whole range of domestic uses from hostel to fancy hotel, in sizes from single to family use, also providing live-work accommodation.”

Whilst the re-use of a vacant building was welcomed, the primary concerns as detailed in the Report of Handling was ‘the standard of amenity that would be created for occupants would be insufficient, with a large number of small, low-ceilinged flats, some with windowless bedrooms, arranged along long corridors’.

The scheme was amended to reduce the number of dwellings from 86 to 72; the development will now comprise of 14 studio apartments, 45 one-bed, nine two-bed and four three-bed flats.

The LBC was approved at the beginning of April, 2022. The planning application, including the change of use, is undecided.

Read our letter here


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