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Conservation areas to be re-examined
Aberdeen's conservation areas are to be looked at afresh with the creation of a Character Appraisals and Management Plan.
The Conservation Area Character Appraisals and Management Plan is the first step in a comprehensive review of the areas and will ultimately lead to supplementary guidance being drawn up which will include character appraisals for all conservation areas and an overarching management plan to protect and enhance them.
The new document will, among other things, provide guidance for the public and help developers to identify and formulate proposals in conservation areas.
The Conservation Area Character Appraisals and Management Plan states: "We have had conservation areas in Aberdeen for over 40 years and some have stood the test of time better than others. Inevitably mistakes have been made and we want to learn from them. For the future we want to ensure that our conservation areas are those whose historic environment is the most worthy of protection and enhancement.
"Conservation areas are more than historic buildings and spaces. They help give Aberdeen its distinct sense of place, telling the story of our common past. Although this document is primarily aimed at the physical fabric of conservation areas, we recognise the important role that they play in the city's environmental sustainability, economic and social wellbeing."
The Plan outlines the general characteristics of all of the city's conservation areas and provides a basis from which to develop strategies to conserve the positive aspects, identify opportunities to enhance them and address any negative issues which come to light.
Identified strengths include: widespread use of granite as a construction material; high quality buildings, many of them listed; abundance of street trees, open spaces and trees and greenery in gardens. Weaknesses include: absentee landlords; inappropriate development in the past; few conservation area appraisals; loss of traditional street signage; and loss of the original development pattern. Identified threats to the areas include: changing retail patterns and short-term uses; unsympathetic development; loss of vegetation; and lack of public resources to manage conservation areas. Several improvement opportunities were also identified, including: using the built and natural heritage to help promote Aberdeen as a desirable location in which to live, visit and do business; repair and reinstatement of traditional cast iron railings; and encouraging local community involvement in conservation area management.
Members of the Development Management Sub-committee unanimously agreed that the Conservation Area Character Appraisals and Management Plan should be put out for public consultation.
Convener Ramsay Milne said: "Aberdeen's conservation areas are hugely important to the city and add greatly to its character and atmosphere. I welcome this piece of work which will not only help to preserve and protect these areas, but also improve them and keep them special for years to come."
For more information visit www.aberdeencity.gov.uk/masterplanning.