New images of a £68million project to redevelop Aberdeen’s Rubislaw Quarry have been unveiled.
Canadian developers Carttera is seeking to build around 300 rented flats, a gym, and a “heritage bistro”, which will host a permanent exhibition detailing the history of the famous site which gave the Granite City its name at the north of the quarry.
The proposals for the north of the quarry rival local businessman Hugh Black’s plans for the south and west of the site, where he wanted to create a dedicated heritage centre celebrating the city’s granite tradition
The visitor centre, which would project over the side of the 466ft deep pit, would include conference facilities for up to 200 people and educational facilities.
But Mr Black’s vision has stalled, with Rubislaw Quarry Aberdeen Ltd wrangling with the Scottish Lands Tribunal to change the deed conditions currently prohibiting from moving forward.
And although he has a hearing next month, the man behind Carttera’s plans said the company would continue to “vehemently” oppose the scheme – as theirs will protect the “natural state” of the site better.
Founding partner Jim Tadeson said: “We really want to pay tribute to this history both through the expression of the architecture, as well as the publically accessible spaces within the building which we will use to highlight the history of the quarry.
“Obviously, we have another heritage centre proposed next to us, which we have been opposed to all along. We have always believed that the area where that centre is proposed should be preserved in its natural state.
“It should never have been proposed there, and we are fighting it vehemently, and we intend to fight it all the way to the very end.
“We have a wonderful opportunity on a site that is approved for development already, where we can get the public to get close to the quarry and enjoy the site, and we can have a heritage component without causing disruption to trees and the community.”
The Toronto-based firm’s has now held a public exhibition on the project, ahead of submitting final plans to Aberdeen City Council later this month.
They say their design – which includes a massive building spanning up to 10-storeys in some places – has been inspired by the blocks of granite taken out of the quarry in years gone by.
Mr Black declined to comment last night, ahead of next month’s tribunal hearing.
But Dominic Fairlie, of the Aberdeen Civic Society, said: “We have been supportive of Hugh Black’s proposals for some form of museum or heritage centre at the quarry, which is, after all, a unique landmark that is largely hidden but represents so much of the commercial history of Aberdeen and the north-east.
“There have also been a number of proposals for developments on the rim of the quarry over the years, and to date and as far as we are aware, all these could have been built as well as Hugh Black’s heritage centre, because they are located ot different sides of the quarry rim.
“It would therefore be a shame if this current proposal could not similarly be build such that it allows a heritage centre to be built at some stage.”
Local councillor Martin Greig added: “Over the last few years the various building proposals around Rubislaw Quarry have generated a great deal of debate.
“There have been strong views for and against each planning application when it came forward.
“We will need to think carefully about this fresh application. There are key policies such as economic, development and transport to consider.”