The company behind controversial plans to redevelop the site of Aberdeen City Council’s former headquarters is “more than willing” to discuss alternative options for a pedestrian zone in Broad Street.
Muse Developments Ltd’s regional director for Scotland, Steve Turner, said after a public hearing into the £107million Marischal Square proposals on Thursday that he would be open to further talks on the issue.
Bosses at the Bon Accord and St Nicholas shopping centres have argued against closing off Broad Street to traffic, and have instead suggested that it could be “narrowed” but still remain accessible to cars, buses and taxis.
Richard Slipper, a senior director at planning consultants GVA James Barr, who appeared on behalf of centre owners F&C REIT, said his clients supported the plans, but had real concerns over the movement of shoppers and access to car parks in the area.
Mr Turner said Muse had been “engaged” with the shopping centre owners and their biggest retailer, John Lewis, since the beginning of the project.
He added: “It’s been an ongoing dialogue. This particular issue has come up in recent weeks, it’s very much a discussion between the two parties on traffic management – people getting to and from their car parks.
“It’s something that the highway engineers have been talking to each other about, travel times and that sort of thing.
“It’s something that we are talking to them about and are continuing to talk to them about. If (Bon Accord and St Nicholas) have some good ideas, we are more than willing to listen to them.”
Any alterations to the plans would have to happen prior to the application returning to the council’s planning committee on September 25.
However, local authority sources suggested it was unlikely there would be major changes, which would require the submission of a fresh planning application.
The proposals for a hotel, office and retail development were lodged after Muse entered into a deal for the land with the local authority.
Councillors had already agreed on the development brief for the site.
The site will effectively be leased to Muse for 35 years, before it is returned to the council.