Local leaders will have to wait a while longer to find out if their bid to overturn the controversial listing of eight Aberdeen tower blocks has been successful.
Aberdeen City Council has been locked in a two-year wrangle with Historic Environment Scotland over its decision to grant protected status to the Brutalist buildings.
The agency – a public body responsible for preserving Scotland’s history – gave the structures A-listed status, meaning they have the same protections as the Music Hall and Marischal College.
The blocks – Gilcomstoun Land, Porthill Court, Seamount Court, Virginia Court, Marischal Court, Thistle Court, Hutcheon Court and Greig Court – officially became listed earlier this year.
Explaining its decision, HES claimed the buildings have “outstanding historical signifance”. The body plans to use them to tell the story of how Scotland emerged from WW2.
Delay to appeal on Aberdeen tower blocks
Aberdeen City Council immediately lodged an appeal, claiming giving the tower blocks listed status would affect its ability to maintain and repair them.
However, it has now emerged the buildings’ future will be on hold until at least the end of the month after the body decided it needed more information from the city council and HES.
“The appointed reporters have carried out accompanied inspections of the appeal site,” a Holyrood spokesman said.
“Further written information has been sought from parties involved in the appeal process and the final deadline for that information is 30 November 2021.
“Once received the reporters will consider all the information provided by all parties before coming to their decisions in the appeals.”
A spokeswoman for HES said the organisation had been “providing information” to the government reporter and was awaiting a decision.
A spokesman for Aberdeen City Council said the authority had no further comment at this stage.
Initial call ‘ludicrous’
The initial decision sparked a furious backlash, with Aberdeen Central MSP Kevin Stewart – then the Scottish Government’s housing minister – branding it “ludicrous”.
Conservative MSP Douglas Lumsden, the then-co-leader of Aberdeen City Council, added it was “the craziest decision people in this city will have ever heard”.
The council’s appeal was put on hold because of Covid-19 restrictions as the council’s archives, as well as Central Library where much of the information needed to build its case, were closed.
However, city officials have now been able to submit documents to the DPEA through planning consultancy firm Montagu Evans LLP.
In the meantime, residents have already been provided with draft guidance aimed at answering questions they may have regarding listed building consent or planning permission.