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

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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