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Countesswells collapse ‘deeply troubling’ as future of development in doubt

The future of CDL is in doubt after it went into administration.

Residents must be given assurances over the “deeply troubling” collapse of the firm behind the new town of Countesswells, it has been claimed.

Earlier this week we revealed Countesswells Development Limited (CDL) had collapsed into administration with less than a third of the planned 3,000 homes completed.

It means the future of the £800 million scheme, which is meant to house around 10,000 people when complete, is in doubt.

CDL, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Stewart Milne Group, was set up to design and deliver the new community and sells off chunks of land at the site to separate housebuilders.

That means work that has already begun will be completed, but it is unclear whether new projects at the site will go ahead.

Countesswells chiefs ‘extremely disappointed’

Bosses at CDL are understood to have accepted the scheme – which is meant to house up to 10,000 people when complete – is well behind schedule.

When the news broke they admitted they were “extremely disappointed” by the company’s fall, blaming the impact of the oil and gas downturn and the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Countesswells undoubtedly suffered from the seismic downturn in the oil and gas industry which began in 2015, with local property prices dropping by 30%,” a spokeswoman said.

“Furthermore, the disruption caused by the pandemic has undoubtedly taken its toll, despite sustained efforts on the part of many stakeholders.”

Local leaders have now spoken out about the possible impact on residents, with the long-term future of the development still up in the air.

Countesswells councillor Martin Greig said the news was “deeply troubling” and called for those living in the area to be given “reassurances”.

Countesswells councillor Martin Greig.

“The interests and wellbeing of local people must be protected,” he added.

“Hundreds of new homes are planned and the consequences of administration have to be explained without delay.”

Aberdeen South MP Stephen Flynn added the news was “extremely concerning”.

Developers react to news

Several housebuilders have developments at Countesswells, including Chap, Kirkwood, Barratt and Stewart Milne Group itself.

“We are sorry to hear that CDL have entered administration,” a spokesman for Chap said.

“We have enjoyed a good relationship with CDL and Stewart Milne and it is disappointing that external factors have led to this.

“Our development at Countesswells is progressing well and we do not anticipate the CDL situation will have a direct impact upon our works or our customers.

“Time will tell what impact it has on the wider Countesswells Development.”

A spokesman for Barratt added its developments at the site are “continuing as normal”.

“What’s more, with work now underway on the new primary school, alongside the opening of a Sainsburys store nearby, it’s clear that the Countesswells community continues to thrive, which is why are confident the development will deliver the vision it promised – one that continues to attract residents and investment today,” a spokesman added.

The Countesswells Conundrum: All you need to know as Aberdeen’s ‘new town’ is plunged into doubt