Conservation areas

Conservation areas are areas of special architectural or historical interest. The Council designates these areas to ensure their character and appearance is preserved and enhanced. 

There are eleven conservation areas in Aberdeen, from Union Street in the city centre to Footdee fishing village. 

Additional planning controls are in place in conservation areas. You need planning permission before you can demolish or alter buildings, if the alterations would affect the character of the area. Trees in conservation areas are also protected.

Planning controls in conservation areas

If you live in a conservation area and plan to carry out work on your property (however minor), you should check with us whether you need:

You can also read our documents about issues that affect buildings in conservation areas: 

For more information, see the Supplementary Guides and Technical Advice Notes page. 

Conservation areas in Aberdeen

You can see a map of the conservation areas below. You can zoom in and out of the map using the plus and minus signs at the top left, or use the search box at the top right to find an address or postcode to check whether it is in a conservation area.

You can read more about each conservation area in the sections below.

This is a sizeable Conservation Area stretching from King's Gate in the north, Anderson Drive in the west, Victoria Street in the east and Union Grove in the south.

The area was built to show the prosperity and wealth of the city and of those who had commissioned its buildings. It embraces the Victorian development of the city, providing good examples of planned streetscapes; formal gardens and residential developments. The area is characterised by wide tree lined streets, which follow a linear and grid pattern. The majority are accompanied by low granite front garden walls and back lanes that provide access to the rear of buildings. There is a mixture of public formal space and private informal space.

Alongside the distinctive semi-detached and detached villas, there are rows of simpler yet substantial terraced developments. To the north, south and west sit terraces; semi-detached and detached residential dwellings of granite and slate and sit back off linear streets. To the east there is a concentration of business, commercial and educational facilities which occupy substantial granite buildings close to the city centre. The area highlights an outstanding array of buildings, encompassing many styles, materials and building practices that are locally distinctive.

The bridging of the Denburn enabled further development to the west of Aberdeen and the Bon Accord/Crown Street Conservation Area was a planned extension to the early development of Union Street. The Conservation Area is a 19th century neoclassical layout exhibiting strong architectural frontages.

The area is significant as it contains city centre development which was architect-designed and executed according to plan. It provides a good example of residential streets of the period including some of the best Archibald Simpson-attributed work. The area is a dense quarter of the city featuring a diverse range of building types and uses. This ranges from large and grand civic buildings adjacent to more modest residential ones.

The Bon Accord and Crown Street conservation area is from Langstane Place in the north, from the Hardgate in the west, to Crown Terrace in the east. and Rosebank Terrace to the south.

The conservation area comprises the original settlement area of 'New Aberdeen' on the banks of the River Dee, parts of which are still evident today at the main port area and the original settlement around St Katherine's Hill.

The conservation area also includes one of the most important examples of early nineteenth century planned streets in Scotland with the development of Union Bridge and Union Street. The street is one of the engineering feats of the early nineteenth century and contains many of the City's most important and impressive buildings.

The conservation area contains more Category A listed buildings than any other conservation area in Aberdeen. The conservation area boundary includes the entire length of Union Street as well as areas of land to the north and south that are linked to Union Street by their physical and historic connections.

The village was simply referred to as 'the Cove', becoming Cove Bay around the turn of the 20th century.

In the 18th and 19th centuries three separate professions influenced the development of the village - fishermen, quarriers and coastguards.

Each community lived in distinct houses, and in different areas of Cove – the coastguards along Loirston Road, the quarriers in Bunstane Terrace or Spark Terrace, and the fishermen who lived in the nine parallel lanes from Colsea Road to Seaview Terrace.

The Conservation Area covers the area of Cove Bay to the east of the railway line, including the small harbour in the south-east part of the Conservation Area.

Ferryhill is a fine example of mid to late 19th century suburban expansion in Aberdeen. As such it gives physical expression to the rise of the growing middle classes at that time and their social aspirations. The area is separated from Aberdeen by the Howe Burn with access by the Hardgate. Ferryhill's built environment is characterised by villas, semi-detached and terraced residential properties as well as numerous late 20th century flatted developments.

Ferryhill is situated approximately half a kilometre to the south of the city centre. It extends from the western extremity of Fonthill Road; Devanha Gardens to the east, where it abuts Marine Terrace Conservation Area; the corner of Polmuir Road and Duthie Park to the south and the junction of Bon Accord Street and Willowbank Road in the north.

Footdee (known to most of the residents as Fittie) was developed as a planned village at the beginning of the 19th century. Its characteristic north and south squares - Middle Row and Pilot's Square – were added later.

When the original village was built around the open squares, the houses were uniform in width, height and depth with similar doors and windows. The only features which distinguished one house from another may have been the colour of the painted door or its individual number, the sheds or wash houses.

The St. Clement Free Church School grew up with the village.

Great Western Road Conservation Area is a good example of a late 19th century residential Aberdeen suburb built up around the major route into the city from Deeside to the west. There are a number of important, substantial, good quality houses on Great Western Road itself and the designation concentrates on this primary road.

Additional streets that run perpendicular to Great Western Road are also included as they contain a large area of residential development of a character and quality that is uniquely 'Aberdeen', with fine, well-proportioned, granite terraced houses.

This is a sizeable conservation area centred on Great Western Road from Mannofield Water Treatment Works in the west, to Nellfield Cemetery in the east.

Set on a hill to the south west of Aberdeen city centre, Marine Terrace Conservation Area is a fine example of 19th century middle and upper middle class suburban residential expansion.

Archibald Simpson, a prominent Aberdeen neoclassical 19th century architect, was responsible for designing a significant part of the area along with other principal Aberdeen architects of the period. Marine Terrace Conservation Area has an affluent and well-maintained character and was one of Aberdeen's first conservation areas.

This is a compact Conservation Area centred on Marine Terrace in Ferryhill.

The conservation area is centred on the medieval route from Aberdeen via the Gallowgate meandering north to the Brig O'Balgownie, an early 14th century legacy. This spine continues to be the link among the architectural and historic gems of the Aulton, and within it is displayed the special character of this important part of the city.

The list of historic buildings and buildings of architectural merit is impressive. From King's Crescent in the south to Balgownie in the north, there are many examples.

Pitfodels Conservation Area has many large houses set in open space with many substantial trees, parkland and formal landscaping. It also has the old railway line, now used as a path for walking and cycling between Aberdeen and Peterculter.

It is defined to the east by the boundaries of the built up area of Braeside, Northcote and Garthdee; to the north by Craigton Road; to the west the boundaries of Cliff House, Wellwood and the Den of Cults and to the south by the River Dee between the Shakkin' Briggie and Kaim House.

It is on a sloping hillside to the north of the River Dee. There are large areas of mature tree planting within the Conservation Area, particularly along the River Dee and along property boundaries.

Ordnance Survey maps from the 1860s show that back then, more than half of this area was undeveloped, especially between Westburn Road and Mid Stocket Road where there were open fields.

North of Westburn Road in the area of Cornhill Hospital, practically all of the land was used for the purposes of healthcare, including:

  • The Royal Lunatic Asylum with airing yards for exercise.
  • Elmhill House Lunatic Asylum.
  • An "Hydropathic Establishment" at Loch-head next to Westburn House.

Much of the land around these buildings was laid out as parkland with lawns, tree planting, and fields in which residents of the establishments could walk.

To the east between Westburn Road and Mid Stocket Road were some houses, but a large site consisted of an "Industrial Asylum and Reformatory for Girls". Much of the south-east and eastern areas adjacent to the conservation area boundary was devoted to industry - with a Tannery and Dye Works close to the Den Burn for a supply of water, some Handloom factories, the Rosemount Works and Winery, and the Gilcomston Brewery.

Rosemount first came into existence in 1829 and was named after a house already in the neighbourhood. In the south-west of the area, between Mid Stocket Road and what is now Whitehall Place, were some single large houses - Belvidere House, Craigiepark House, and Westfield - and some groups of cottages and smaller detached houses. The south west of the area was laid out as a market garden and nursery.

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