DIGGERS will soon be moving onto the site of a derelict Aberdeen factory to make way for a long-awaited £50million development.
The Broadford Works site – which contains the biggest collection of at-risk listed buildings in Scotland – has languished since the former Richards textile factory closed its doors in 2004.
The Maberley Street site, which is owned is by businessman Ian Suttie, has planning permission for more than 500 flats, 50,000sqft of commercial space, a restaurant, nursery and parking.
But since being granted permission by the Scottish Government, there has been no progress on the Maberly Street site – despite repeated attacks by fireraisers and vandals.
Nearby residents have now however received a letter from Central Demolition Ltd on behalf of Mr Suttie’s company, First Construction Ltd, advising that demolition works are imminent – and that they will take well into next year.
The letter states: “We have been appointed by First Construction Ltd to carry out the demolition of several buildings within the Broadford Works site in Aberdeen.
“We plan to commence on site on Monday, October 26. The works are anticipated to take approximately 24 working weeks to complete (excluding holidays).
“We will begin with preparatory works before undertaking the demolition of the buildings on site and then cleaning up the site.”
Last night Aberdeen City Council welcomed the news that the developer was edging closer to transforming the site, but stressed it would still be some time before the buildings came down.
Andy Finlayson, vice-convener of the city council’s planning development management committee, said: “The site benefits from both planning permission for a mixed-use development which was granted on September 30 2014, and also listed building consent for the demolition of a number of listed buildings.
“That latter application was approved on January 31, 2015.
“However there are a number of suspensive planning conditions which must be cleared by Aberdeen City Council before any formal demolitions can commence.
“It is possible for some initial preliminary strip out works to remove buildings of debris and materials at this time.
“Aberdeen City Council welcomes work being carried out at the Broadford Works site.”
A total of 32 listed buildings have been earmarked for demolition, however the consent granted means that the 11 historic mill buildings, including the oldest iron-framed mill in Scotland dating back to 1808, on the site must be preserved.
Earlier this year Mr Suttie was served a dangerous building notice by the council, requiring him to implement 24-hour security measures to prevent vandals entering the site.
Aberdeen Central MSP Kevin Stewart, who has been a long-time campaigner for work to begin at Broadford, said he was pleased the development was now progressing.
He said: “I am pleased that there seems to be some movement at the Broadford site, however I hope that all of these works are going to be closely monitored by the council to ensure that there is no damage to any of the listed buildings on the site.
“Beyond that I hope that this is the start of not only demolition, but also construction, to ensure that this area is brought back up to a decent standard.”
Andy Macleod, chairman of George Street Community Council, added: “It’s good news that something’s happening. In the last 15 years or so the constant fires have been a pain.
“It would have been very good if it got developed earlier on.”
It is understood that another developer also has plans for the site, which would also include the construction of new homes.
Mr Suttie could not be reached for a comment last night.