Plans for dozens of flats in the empty shell of a former oil HQ could be given the green light next week – despite concerns from neighbours Royal Mail.
City planners are recommending outline proposals to convert Quattro House into apartments are approved – providing developer Faro Properties signs up to a legal agreement.
That’s despite the objection from neighbours, Royal Mail, who fear it will impact the 24-hour operation of its mail centre in the south of Aberdeen.
Flats plans come after eight years of unsuccessfully flogging the Quattro House
Faro would still require detailed planning permission before there are spades in the ground but it would secure the land – currently earmarked for business use – for residential development.
The £1.5m Altens office development has been on the market, most recently for £1.5 million, ever since Petrofac moved out in 2013.
It was reported the energy services firm paid as much as £5.5m to escape their remaining five-year lease in 2019.
Since, there has been no “significant interest” in the property as is, forcing the owners to look at doing something new given the “oversupply” of commercial premises in the city.
Part of Quattro House could be demolished to make way for flats
Now, Faro has designs for 79 flats on the Wellington Circle site, retaining and adding to the main C-shaped two-storey building.
The building’s height would double to four-storeys under the plans, making room for 64 homes of one, two and three-bedrooms.
Another four-storey all-affordable block would be built, containing 15 of the 21 affordable units included in the scheme.
Faro’s plans also include demolition of the single-floor wings on the north and south sides.
The abundance of commercial property highlighted by Faro was enough to convince council chiefs that the residential development was warranted.
Royal Mail concerned for ‘important’ Wellington Circle mail depot next door
Meanwhile Royal Mail, whose Altens delivery office is on the opposite side of the street, objects to the plans on the basis that the area is a business park – at odds with the planned residential use.
Concerns cover the range of all-night, floodlit work at their site – and the worry that any noise complaints from residents might affect their legal obligation to deliver mail six-days-a-week to 300,000 addresses in Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire, Moray, Orkney and Shetland.
Sarah Myers, of Cushman And Wakefield, wrote to the council on behalf of Royal Mail, stating the centre is an “important asset”, employing at least 350 people.
“Residential development in such close proximity is of significant concern to Royal Mail as the introduction potentially gives rise to future amenity issues and challenges which could restrict or ultimately prevent operations.”
She went on to raise “significant concern” about when noise testing was done, as none were recorded overnight or at their peak busiest time of the year – the Christmas rush.
The postal firm also argues that there is no need for the redevelopment of Quattro House for housing, as there is an adequate supply of land elsewhere in the city for that use.
Aberdeen’s environmental health team was similarly concerned but officials believe the noise can be mitigated against.
They’ve recommended approval for the plans in principle only be given if Faro will agree to ensure bedrooms are kept away from the Royal Mail depot, that windows and vents fitted are capable of protecting residents against noise and that special fencing is installed around the development to limit noise too.