Controversial plans to redevelop the site of Aberdeen City Council’s former headquarters are to bypass the local authority’s planning committee.
Councillors were told the Marischal Square application from Muse Developments Ltd would return for consideration by members at a meeting on Thursday.
But it emerged last night that the £107million proposals would go straight to the full council on October 8.
A one-day public hearing was held on August 29, when a council spokeswoman said a new report on the application would be considered by the planning development management committee at its next meeting.
However, the item is not on the agenda, and it was confirmed yesterday it would not be added as a late paper.
Elected members expressed their surprise at the move.
Bill Cormie, Rosemount and Midstocket ward councillor, said: “It may well have been referred to full council, but that it is up to the planning committee to decide that.
“It would seem that the administration has decided that it is not coming to the planning committee to be determined.
“Even after the hearing, there were a lot of unanswered questions. It has never been done in this way before.”
The Labour-led administration has come under fire over the development of the old St Nicholas House site, with city MSP Kevin Stewart claiming the proposal was a “done deal”.
Objectors have also launched a petition, signed by more than 1,200 people, urging councillors to rethink the application.
Former Robert Gordon University lecturer Lorna McHattie has called for the plans to be referred to the Scottish Government for a final decision, claiming the council has a conflict of interest because it owns the land.
Finance convener Willie Young insisted last night that there was no attempt to prevent councillors debating the plans further.
He said: “First of all, this will allow all 43 elected members to have their say on what is one of the most important developments for the council.
“Secondly, as much as we would have liked to get it to planning first, there has been a delay in the report, it is a complicated report, and there are many issues that need to be addressed by our officers.”