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Council affirms commitment to city centre regeneration

18/12/13

Regeneration plans for Aberdeen city centre have taken a significant step forward.

Full Council voted to underwrite the 750,000 cost of a proposed masterplan for the city and to enter into discussions with Network Rail on development options for the Denburn Valley.

Members instructed officers to undertake discussions with relevant organisations and companies on the potential for a light transport system for the city.

The Wood Family Trust had sought confirmation from the Council, by the end of the calendar year, that it would accept design criteria stipulated as part of the Trust's proposed 50million funding offer towards the cost of a transformational city centre project. Officers have been instructed to inform the Trust that, as a masterplan is being developed for the area as part of the Strategic Infrastructure Plan, the Council is unable to meet that deadline.

City Centre Regeneration Board chair, deputy council leader Marie Boulton, said: "I want to be very clear that this Council is not rejecting the generous offer made by the Wood Family Trust, but we are unfortunately unable to meet the deadline set.

A lot of things have to move forward and one of those is discussions with Network Rail. It is important that those discussions take place, but that and the masterplanning process will take some time.

"Because of the strategy that the Council has taken forward in the Strategic Infrastructure Plan and the decision to create a masterplan for the city centre, we are currently unable to fulfil the conditions that Sir Ian and the Wood Family Trust put before us. This is not to say we don't want to work with them, quite the reverse in fact, but we have to give an honest answer that we are not in a position to give any clarity on the design at this stage.

"Nobody wants to be unable to utilise 50million and I would welcome any opportunity given by the Wood Family Trust, if there's still money left on the table once they've deliberated any other projects, to take advantage of that. We will always keep the door open and keep discussions open.

"We know we need regeneration. We need action. We need to make things happen and that's why we have the City Centre Regeneration Board."

Councillor Callum McCaig's amendment that the Council affirms its desire to deliver transformational regeneration of the city centre with proposals to be developed through the City Centre Regeneration Board masterplan and instructs officers to continue discussions with potential external funders, including the Wood Family Trust, was agreed.