Aberdeen FC chairman Dave Cormack has urged the public to have their say on plans for a new stadium at the city’s beach – as a consultation on “one of the most ambitious blueprints for the city” is opened to the public.
The refresh of the city centre masterplan, now expanded to include the seafront, is backed by £150 million of council cash and also includes proposals for a new market and potential pedestrianisation of Union Street.
Council chiefs are now ready to test their plans against public feeling, asking citizens how their priorities have changed in the pandemic.
The masterplan, a 25-year blueprint to revitalise Aberdeen, was first agreed in 2015 – but councillors last month backed a review to help boost the city’s recovery from coronavirus.
This could include better walking and cycling routes between the beach and Union Street, a potential replacement for the Beach Leisure Centre, investment in the Beach Ballroom and – potentially – public money funding a replacement for Pittodrie.
Dons chairman Cormack: Masterplan is ‘one of the most ambitious blueprints for our city’
Political leaders have made clear their intentions to tempt Aberdeen Football Club to remain within walking distance of the city centre, instead of progressing plans for Kingsford on the outskirts.
The site of the former Hilton Doubletree, closed since May 2020, and Transition Extreme is being eyed as the new home of the Dons.
And last night, Aberdeen FC chairman Dave Cormack said: “This is one of the most ambitious blueprints for our city which acknowledges the importance of better connecting our coastal assets with the city centre and comes at a crucial time for Aberdeen as we start to recover from the chaos caused by the pandemic.
“While it’s still early days in terms of planning and decision-making, there is the potential for a new stadium to play a major part in the reinvigoration of the beachfront.
“As a major stakeholder within the beach area, we will be actively involved in the consultation and urge all our fans to get involved and make their views known.”
Have your say on BHS revamp
The consultation will ask for citizens to give points to show how important improvements in particular areas of the city are to them.
As well as the beach, this will include Union Street, the west end, Belmont Street, Schoohill and Upperkirkgate, and the Castlegate.
Last month, the council voted to press ahead with surprise plans to buy the former BHS department store in the city’s main thoroughfare, publishing eye-catching concept images of a proposed replacement for the condemned indoor market.
The plans are part of work to recover from the pandemic which has battered the high street, forcing a number of prominent closures including the likes of Debenhams and John Lewis.
Call to action: Decisions taken will affect Aberdeen ‘for decades – if not generations to come’
Urging participation in the consultation, the council’s city centre masterplan spokeswoman Marie Boulton said: “We are committed to ensuring that our city centre and beach are places that the people of Aberdeen are proud of and enjoy spending time in.
“We also want to make sure our city and beach front are both attractive and enjoyable places for people to visit and invest in.”
Liberal Democrat group leader Ian Yuill said public views were “vital”, adding: “The decisions ultimately taken will affect our city centre and the beach for decades – if not generations – to come.
“I urge everyone with an interest in the future over city to take the time to take part in the consultation.”