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Prince Charles walks away from Aberdeen’s Broadford Works project

The Duke of Rothesay, Prince Charles, on a visit to the Broadford Works. Picture by Jim Irvine
The Duke of Rothesay, Prince Charles, on a visit to the Broadford Works. Picture by Jim Irvine

One of Prince Charles’s leading charities has walked away from a huge regeneration scheme in the heart of Aberdeen.

The Duke of Rothesay had intervened personally to help get plans for a multimillion-pound revamp of the 19th century Broadford Works on track.

But now The Prince’s Regeneration Trust has confirmed it is no longer involved in the project.

And it is understood the decision is linked to fears the owner of the site is planning to sell up.

Tycoon Ian Suttie, who is boss of First Construction, was given permission by the Scottish Government in 2013 to create a £50million “urban village”.

The Duke of Rothesay, Prince Charles, on a visit to the Broadford Works. Picture by Jim Irvine
The Duke of Rothesay, Prince Charles, on a visit to the Broadford Works. Picture by Jim Irvine

But since then no progress has been made at the Maberley Street site of the former Richards textile mill – which has been repeatedly targeted by fire-raisers and vandals.

The Prince’s Regeneration Trust, one of 19 charities in the country which count the heir to the throne as their president, helped the businessman with the scheme.

The Duke of Rothesay gave the proposals his full backing on a visit to Aberdeen in 2012 and was understood to be “very interested” in how the plans were progressing.

A letter seen by the Press and Journal suggests that Mr Suttie’s “marketing of the site” is the reason the Prince’s Regeneration Trust has walked away. It reads: “The trust worked closely with the owner of Broadford Works to find an effective planning and delivery solution, but is no longer actively involved in the project as the owner took responsibility for marketing the site.

“Nevertheless, we remain keen to see a positive outcome for this hugely important heritage site and are pleased to see that the council is working closely with the owner to improve site security.

“If the council feels at any point that it needs our active support we would be happy to assist.”

Aberdeen Central MSP Kevin Stewart said it was “a great pity” the prince was no longer involved in the project – and said Mr Suttie should consider giving the site to the city council. He added: “It seems that Mr Suttie is no longer interested in developing Broadford Works and he looks keen to offload the site on to someone else.

“The people who live near the area have had to put up with antisocial behaviour and fire-raising for far too long and part of our city’s history is slowly being destroyed as the buildings on the site are degrading.

“The site may well not sell and it cannot be left to rot further and I believe that Mr Suttie should consider gifting the site to the city so that action can be taken to preserve and develop this historic site.

“I know that Prince Charles has taken a keen interest in Broadford Works and it’s a great pity that the Prince’s Regeneration Trust are no longer actively involved in helping find an effective planning and delivery solution”

The Duke of Rothesay, Prince Charles, on a visit to the Broadford Works. Picture by Jim Irvine
The Duke of Rothesay, Prince Charles, on a visit to the Broadford Works. Picture by Jim Irvine

Aberdeen City Council’s convener of planning development management, Councillor Ramsay Milne, said: “Aberdeen City Council will continue to monitor the situation but we are neither the owner nor the developer of the site.

“I would urge the owner to progress the implementation of the planning consents that are in place for redevelopment of the site, or conclude a sale with a party who is willing to progress the development of the site without further delay.”

A spokesman for the Prince’s Regeneration Trust said: “We worked with the owner of Broadford Works and other partners to secure planning consent for the site, which was achieved in 2013.

“That year, we also did some work with the owner to help gauge developer interest in the site.

“Having completed the work we were commissioned to do, PRT’s involvement in Broadford Works ended and at that point it was left with the owner to take the site forward. We have no current knowledge in relation to the site.”

Mr Suttie could not be contacted for comment yesterday.

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