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Inaugural board meeting sets the stage for city centre regeneration

02/12/13

A team of councillors, business leaders and regeneration experts came together today [Monday, 02 December] to begin the process of breathing new life into Aberdeen city centre.

The first meeting of the City Centre Regeneration Board coincided with a unanimous decision of the Urgent Business Committee to establish a programme manager for the city's ambitious Strategic Infrastructure Plan (SIP).

The Board, comprising a cross-party group of six councillors and seven cross-agency members, will work together to drive forward the regeneration of the area, alongside a new City Centre team of council officers. The regeneration of the city centre is a key component of the "A better image for Aberdeen" priority in the SIP.

The SIP programme manager will oversee the strategic management and successful delivery of the Plan and its expected benefits, and report directly to the chief executive.

Deputy council leader and chair of the City Centre Regeneration Board Councillor Marie Boulton, said: "Today marks a very important milestone not only for the council, but for the city as a whole, and particularly the city centre.

"A dedicated and determined group of people representing a broad range of interests and expertise in the private sector will be working with councillors and officers to ensure the best outcome for the city centre. We will co-opt experts and interested parties onto the Board as we move through the process to ensure that the very best advice is available to us at all times.

"There is no doubt that this area needs to be regenerated. We will work closely together to determine the best ways of achieving that and to provide a city centre that the people of Aberdeen want and which reflects Aberdeen's status as a leading world energy city."

Council chief executive Valerie Watts added: "Today's meetings set the stage for a very important and exciting future for Aberdeen city centre.

"There is a clear and strong desire for Aberdeen City Council members and officers to work together with our private sector partners to find the best and most effective ways of regenerating our city centre.

"I am very encouraged by the level of interest and ambition expressed today and look forward to working with this very experienced group to drive forward regeneration and deliver a city centre Aberdeen can be proud of and which reflects the city's global status."

One of the Board's first actions was to instruct council officers to approach partners to discuss the financing of a masterplan for the city centre. Officers were also instructed to approach Network Rail to open early stage discussions about the area surrounding Union Bridge.

The remit of the City Centre Regeneration Board is to:
•oversee the regeneration of Aberdeen city centre as part of the "A better image of Aberdeen" priority of the SIP;
•identify additional projects for the city centre which meet the aims and objectives of the SIP and related strategic documents;
•oversee the submission of a report for each cycle of the meeting of Full Council to recommend projects to regenerate the city centre and to provide updates on progress.