Councillors will debate a potential £150 million Aberdeen city centre development today which could pave the way for more housing, shopping and leisure space.
The city growth committee will discuss the potential around Queens Street, which has been earmarked in the billion-pound masterplan for the Queens Square development, made up of houses, shops, leisure and public space.
Today members will be asked to approve £500,000 to create project teams to develop the plans further, and enter negotiations with various public authorities.
If approved, a further report will come back with detailed options which could include the demolition of the 1970s-era Town House extension with future meetings potentially moved to a new chamber in Marischal College.
Investigations have also begun on the possibility of relocating the city’s mortuary to allow for the demolition of the Queens Street police station, the refurbishment of Marischal College’s eastern annex and the relocation of parts of the courts service.
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But one of the more controversial elements of the drive will be a call to give firms building more than 50 homes in the city centre a two-year break from paying developer contributions.
The ruling Conservative, Aberdeen Labour and independent administration have said the idea would encourage more building in the city centre.
But opposition groups have voiced their fears, claiming that the public purse would be “raided for the benefit of private developers”.
A trade publication said that if approved the work on Queens Street could begin next year.
Last night council co-leader Douglas Lumsden, who is also the convener of the committee, said: “This is a really exciting opportunity for us. It won’t be easy because we have all the other public partners to work with but we think it will bring something very special to the city.”
Aberdeen Inspired chief executive Adrian Watson said: “This proposal is absolutely on the level of ambition that Aberdeen should have.”
SNP group leader Stephen Flynn stressed that full consultation must be carried out before there were any changes to the area- which he said had not been the case in “previous masterplan projects”.
He added that halting developer contributions would be “outrageous” and would mean less money for affordable housing.