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Warning repairs ‘could cost more than properties’ if Aberdeen high rises get listed status

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Homeowners could be left with mounting bills and in a “very difficult” position if eight Aberdeen tower blocks are listed by Historic Environmental Scotland, it has been claimed.

The body announced on Wednesday it was considering whether the 1960s high rises around the city should be considered of national significance.

But the leader of Castlehill And Pittodrie Community Council Jonathan Smith knows first-hand the trouble residents could face if such protection is awarded.

Three of the eight blocks under consideration – Porthill Court, Seamount Court and Marischal Court – are in his ward.

The others which could be protected include Gilcomstoun Land, Virginia Court, Thistle Court, Hutcheon Court and Greig Court.

Speaking a meeting of the neighbouring Aberdeen City Centre Community Council, Mr Smith said: “I live in a listed property in Marischal Street.

“Historic Scotland and the city council require very specific applications for everything: whether it is insuring the building, repair works, replacing windows and doors and even everyday upkeep, like painting stairwells.

“It could be a very difficult process for a homeowner who wants only to replace their windows or install central heating.”

He added: “We still have not got double glazing because the cost would be more than the property is currently worth.

“It’s understandable if you are dealing with Crathes Castle but maybe not a flat in one of the high rises.”

But Mr Smith did point out there were several funds available to help cover the cost of improvements made to properties in conservation areas.

Historic Environment Scotland is expected to complete its assessment on whether to pursue listed status next month before a consultation involving residents and people from all over the country.

There will be two public drop-in meetings on the plans at Catherine Street Community Centre on October 28 and November 11.

The co-leader of Aberdeen City Council Douglas Lumsden said he would be “surprised” if the local authority backed the calls in the consultation.

He added: “The council owns many properties in these buildings and needs to maintain and improve them.

“Listed status would make that more difficult and expensive to do that.

“It seems to me this is not what listed status is for,and I have not spoken to anyone – councillors or officers – who is supportive of the idea.”

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