Council planners have given a developer permission to let non-academic residents live in a £20million student accommodation development.
Dandara submitted an application to overturn a building condition for its 342-bed Triple Kirks development to be solely for students in October.
The move came following a change in city council policy that was approved in September, which allows developers to waive affordable housing contributions for the next two years if they create residential developments of less than 50 homes within the city centre.
The city council’s decision notice, which was published on December 24, said Dandara’s application was approved because changing the students-only condition “would not result in a material change of use of the building”.
It further stated that the “amenity of permanent non-student residents would continue to be acceptable in terms of the adopted development plan”.
>> Keep up to date with the latest news with The P&J newsletter
However, in accepting the application, the council created new conditions, including that “communal amenities that compensate for the lack of amenity in some of the bedrooms will be available to all residents”, including a gym, cinema room, games room, and outdoor roof terraces.
The report added: “Removal of condition seven would add to the choice and range of housing, support businesses and act as a catalyst for further regeneration in the city centre.”
The council’s new policy of waiving affordable housing contributions for developers who meet the criteria was designed to boost the population of people living in the city centre.
North-East MSP Lewis Macdonald said: “The big question here has to be whether selling or letting purpose-built student flats to non-students will actually lead to more affordable housing in Aberdeen city centre, or will it simply save money for the builders?”
Gavin Wyley, managing director of Dandara in Scotland, said: “This is an important decision for Aberdeen, which ensures that we can provide much-needed, high-quality build-to-rent residential accommodation for people who want to live in the city centre at this landmark development.
“It comes at a time when the heart of the city has more to offer those who wish to live there, with the Art Gallery, Music Hall and Marischal Square projects moving forward.”