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Scottish Government to decide fate of ‘monstrosity’ Old Aberdeen shed as owner fights council orders

The green-fingered Aberdeen University lecturer came under fire for putting up a new shed without permission.

A government appeal has been lodged over Aberdeen City Council refusing peermission for a new shed
Neighbours have been left furious as the row over an Old Aberdeen shed has gone to the Scottish Government on appeal. Image: Ben Hendry/DCT Media

A row over a shed in Old Aberdeen has reached the corridors of power at Holyrood.

Anna Riemen built the hut in her garden along the Spital last year, claiming she didn’t know about rules surrounding such structures in the historic area.

The green-fingered academic is a specialist in trauma and orthopaedic surgery and lives yards from Aberdeen University, where she lectures.

The 4m shed was built to indulge her passion for gardening, described as her “main solace” in life.

The shed sits on the corner of the Spital and Sunnybank Road. Image supplied by Old Aberdeen Heritage Society to the council as part of the planning process.

Owner’s hopes dashed by Aberdeen City Council

But neighbours were livid about the addition, and the local authority later ordered it be torn down.

Despite councillors voting to deny permission for the Old Aberdeen shed, it remains in place more than four months on.

And the matter is now in the hands of the Scottish Government.

Why does P&J article form grounds of Old Aberdeen shed government appeal?

Dr Riemen and her architects are appealing the local decision, with a government reporter recently sent to inspect the site for herself.

The article was published online and in the pages of the P&J last October. Image: Clarke Cooper/DC Thomson

Aurora Planning references a Press and Journal article from the time of the refusal.

Our report featured quotes from people for and against it, and details from the council meeting where it was rejected.

Aurora highlights how the comments section beneath our online report attracted many “unprompted” positive remarks.

Many people who had no idea about the wrangle expressed shock that anyone could complain about the shed. Image: Ben Hendry/DC Thomson

Claims comments ‘indicative’ of how shed is viewed

Writing to the government, they state: “There have been further expressions of
support for the shed, from people who were not necessarily aware of the application.

“For example, a Press and Journal article attracted unprompted comments in support of the shed, with this being indicative that the shed is considered by many not to have a negative impact.

“The article also provides a visualisation of the extent to which the shed is screened by existing planting around the site, showing this to be almost entirely obscured from view.”

You can see the visualisation mentioned here:

Could reader remarks sway the government?

The comments from our readers last October included one calling the neighbours “spiteful” for objecting.

Another stated: “Think it looks lovely and feel very sorry for this member of our health services being made to feel like this in her own community.”

Some readers praised Dr Riemen for making an effort to shield her shed. Image: DC Thomson

And one commenter asked: “What’s wrong with these people? It’s not exactly scrap metal or tossed-out washing machines and sofas, is it?”

The architects add: “We trust the above will now be taken into account when determining this appeal.”

Neighbours continuing crusade as Old Aberdeen shed appeal reaches government

But neighbours have taken their fight to Holyrood now too, urging the Scottish Government to refuse the appeal.

Richard and Teresa Harwood say: “The shed/structure looks incongruous in its elevated position on the corner of Sunnybank Road and Spital.

“It is completely out of character.”

What do you think should happen to the Old Aberdeen shed? Let us know in our comments section below

‘Neat and tidy’ structure provides ‘a breath of fresh air’

Elena Leontyeva also wrote to the government, expressing support for it to remain.

And Tricia Schooling said: “This garden and the new shed provide a breath of fresh air, they are aesthetically pleasing, neat, tidy and well-maintained.”

A decision should be made in the coming weeks.

It is likely the decision will be made by a reporter appointed by government ministers rather than members of the parliament.

You can view the appeal documents here and read the full article from last year here:

Aberdeen University lecturer faces tearing down shed after neighbours complain about ‘monstrosity’ in historic area