Plans for a “destination green space” to encourage walking and cycling to Aberdeen Royal Infirmary have been backed.
Council officers, using delegated powers, have approved proposals for a woodland, wildflower meadow, path and natural play area in the hospital grounds.
Glasgow-based Erz is to landscape an area on the Westburn Road edge of the health campus.
Work was estimated to cost around £1.5m and is part of a wider effort to create four “destination green spaces” in the hospital grounds.
The health board will meet that cost with the help of EU funding.
Landscaping will expose around 230ft of the Gilcomston Burn to the open air and benefit wildlife, the contractor said.
Much of the burn is tunnelled out of sight, with only a small stretch visible presently.
The move would improve flood prevention measures along with other facilities on the site, including storage for water run-off from nearby development sites and the nearby car park.
Tree planting will also aid efforts to reduce surface water at the site.
A landscaped basin to store excess water is expected to generally remain dry outwith storms, providing south-facing grass terraces with seating steps to help people enjoy the sun.
It is hoped opening up the boundary wall in Westburn Road to allow access to a new walking and cycling path linking to Foresterhill Road will encourage people to walk or cycle to the hospital along the burn.
The designs might also encourage increased use of public transport to get to ARI, as the proposed new proposed entrance is to be close to bus stops in Westburn Road.
In a document on the design of the site, submitted to the council, a spokesman for Erz said: “As it stands, whilst this part of the site is undeveloped and ‘visually’ green in an otherwise built-up area, it’s value from both an amenity and environmental perspective is not fully realised.
“Whilst much of the site is green, it has little value.
“The site is currently designed for the car, with little pedestrian infrastructure or direct/clear routes in terms of pedestrian movement.”
The site lies on the western side of the north-east’s flagship health campus, between Westburn Road and Foresterhill Road.
The scrub grassland is flanked by the on-campus staff car park and the Blood Transfusion Centre on its east.
Plans were submitted to Aberdeen Council last June, having been drawn up as part of NHS Grampian’s strategy to make the best use of its public space.
In a report outlining the planning permission, the council’s development manager Daniel Lewis said: “The proposal would enhance the Foresterhill site by providing an attractive landscaped area incorporating sustainable urban drainage together with a public footpath from Westburn Road into the wider Foresterhill site.
“The proposal would enhance the existing use of the site as a green space and…the proposed landscape design enhances existing features and includes retention and new planting of the trees, de-culverting part of the Gilcomston Burn and creating an enhanced green space for recreation and wildlife.”