Calls are being made to widen the scope of a £150 million plan to revitalise Aberdeen city centre and the beach – as the public are given a say on the new proposals.
SNP councillors want to widen the area to be adopted as part of a new masterplan being drafted up in the hopes of turning the city’s fortunes around.
Currently, the expanded masterplan – being refreshed this year after it was first agreed in 2015 – will cover Union Street, the Castlegate, Beach Boulevard and the section of the Esplanade between the Queens Links and Accommodation Road.
Among the multi-million-pound proposals could be a partially public-funded football stadium to replace Pittodrie and keep Aberdeen FC within walking distance of Union Street, and a new market within the footprint of the former BHS department store on the Granite Mile.
But the opposition councillors want the amusement beach along the promenade to Footdee to be included too.
Councillor Michael Hutchison is to bring forward a motion calling for the benefits to be shared further along the waterfront at a council meeting a week on Monday.
He told us: “We want to ensure that our city’s aspirations are as bold and imaginative as they can be.
“We stood on a manifesto of delivering a waterfront masterplan and it’s welcome that the council are making progress towards that now.
“However, we are concerned that the current plans are too focused on a relatively small area.
“We should be looking further and considering every option as we plan for the future.
“We all have the ambition of making Aberdeen a better place to live, work, study and visit, and we should not be afraid to look at all options to ensure we achieve that.”
‘Determined to move forward’
Mr Hutchison is asking for officials to look at what medium and long term work could be carried out at the Queens Links Leisure Park and along the beachfront to improve access and support current and future businesses.
Urging fans to provide input, Aberdeen FC chairman described the work as “one of the most ambitious blueprints of our city”.
City centre masterplan spokeswoman Marie Boulton hit back at Mr Hutchison last night, telling us: “The SNP stood on a promise of a new bridge over the River Dee a proposal that they failed to bring forward at each and every budget they’ve proposed since the local election in 2017.
“This administration are determined to move forward with consultation on our city centre masterplan and that is why we took forward proposals to invest £150m into the city centre and the beach, something the SNP voted against.
“We look forward to hearing what the public has to say in the consultation so that in August we can make aspirational and bold decisions for the future of the city.”