City Centre Masterplan

The Aberdeen City Centre Masterplan (CCMP) is a regeneration blueprint that is transforming the city centre while conserving its proud heritage. The goal is greater prosperity and a better quality of life for all.

The Masterplan was shaped following extensive public consultation and unanimously approved by Aberdeen City Council in June 2015.

Eight objectives feed through the Masterplan:

  • Changing perceptions
  • Growing the city centre employment base
  • A metropolitan outlook
  • A living city for everyone
  • Made in Aberdeen
  • Revealing waterfronts
  • Technologically advanced and environmentally responsible
  • Culturally distinctive

In all, it has 50 projects that range from delivering enhanced civic space to helping support exciting new events like the Great Aberdeen Run. Consultancy BDP, which drew up the Masterplan, estimated that over the next 25 years it could attract £1 billion of investment - the bulk from the private sector - and create thousands of new jobs.

The City Centre Masterplan is helping make Aberdeen an even better place to live, work, visit and do business.

City Centre Masterplan review

A review of the CCMP was agreed at a meeting of the city growth and resources committee in May 2021 as it was first approved in 2015 and there have been several achievements to date including the completion of Aberdeen Art Gallery, the Music Hall, Marischal Square, and Broad Street. Over the coming months, there will be completion of Provost Skene’s House and the regeneration of Union Terrace Gardens. The review was presented to the City Growth and Resources committee in August 2021, and is available to view here.

A public consultation was held recently as part of the review for people to give their views on the area, allocating points to indicate how important an issue is.  

The results of the public consultation exercise are available below, however the top 10 priorities received were: 

  • Union Street as the heart of the city
  • Make outdoor café culture in the Belmont Street area permanent
  • Focus on building maintenance and upkeep for Union Street
  • The beach as location for a new stadium
  • More trees, flowers and green spaces on Union Street
  • A pedestrianised central section of Union Street (Market Street to Bridge Street)
  • Improve connections from the beach to the city centre
  • Remove street clutter on Union Street
  • Make more of the Castlegate space
  • Improve connections from the city centre to the beach.

As part of the City Centre Masterplan Review, a number of exciting changes for the city centre were agreed at the August 2021 City Growth and Resources committee including a major redesign of the streetscape of Union Street, the West End, Schoolhill/Upperkirkgate and Castlegate.  Officers have also been instructed to undertake a building condition survey for all properties on Union Street, develop proposals for a permanent café culture in the Belmont Street and Back Wynd area, and install outdoor seating outside the Art Gallery.  The Agenda, Papers and Decision Sheet for the August 2021 City Growth and Resources meeting are available here.

Other measures which were agreed include investigating the possibility of council-owned land allowing permanent outdoor areas to promote café culture, and allowing the temporary outdoor trading to continue until 24 January 2022 to help the hospitality industry.

The members also agreed to schedule the removal of Spaces for People Interventions from West End (Thistle Street, Chapel Street, and Rose Street) which has now been completed. 

All the proposed changes to the city centre area will be informed by engagement with stakeholders including children and young people, public transport operators, residents, and traders.

Exciting changes are happening

A transformative regeneration of Aberdeen’s city centre, former market, and beach front was given the go-ahead at the November 2021 City Growth and Resources committee meeting.

The multi-million projects include the pedestrianisation of Union Street Central, the creation of a new city market, and the revitalisation of the beach area, with plans for a pier, new green hub, and a state-of-the-art sports area which could include a new stadium for Aberdeen FC.

Although the works are split into projects - city centre including Union Street and the West End, Aberdeen Market, Queen Street, the beach area, and combined city and beach areas – there are interdependencies of many of the work packages which will require them to be sequenced together.

  • For the city centre, the committee agreed to fully pedestrianise the central section of Union Street from Market Street to Bridge Street, except for cyclists and time limited servicing.

As part of these works, bus, taxi (and private hire) and cycle priority route is to be implemented on Bridge Street, Market Street, and Guild Street, Schoolhill/Upperkirkgate is required to be pedestrianised between Harriet Street and Flourmill Lane, and right turns prohibited except for buses, taxis (and private hire) and cycles from Union Terrace into Rosemount Viaduct.

  • The committee approved the detailed design principles for Union Street Central and they will proceed to the next stage of works including detailed design, stakeholder engagement, contractor engagement, and applications for statutory consents.
  • The committee agreed design works for public realm improvements from Aberdeen Market to Guild Street in association with ongoing design work for Aberdeen Market would be progressed.
  • It also agreed all Spaces for People measures in the city centre should be removed with the exception of Union Street central, the Belmont Street/Back Wynd area, and Schoolhill/Upperkirkgate, by the end of this month.
  • The committee also agreed the design development undertaken for the Belmont Street and Back Wynd area and which will now be developed into a full business case and operational model in consultation with local traders.
  • The committee approved the updated Outline Business Case for the new Aberdeen Market which will now be progressed with design development to include early contractor engagement.
  • The committee further approved the demolition and site clearance of the former Police Scotland Headquarters, 6-12 Shoe Lane and 5 West North Street, and provide a market analysis, a development appraisal and development brief, for the Queen Street area.
  • As part of the ongoing design work for the Beach Masterplan, the remaining beach Spaces for People intervention is to be considered for inclusion for any permanent scheme. Several short-term items for the beach area are to be progressed to an outline business case, including a new amphitheatre, a new events field, new urban park areas, new sports areas, a pump track, landscaped mounding features, reconfiguration works/beach landscaping, interventions/upgrades along beach, and public realm works at Broadhill.

Medium-term items to be progressed towards the detailed design/planning consent stages include significant upgrades for the Beach Ballroom, a gateway building, a hub Building; a beach pavilion building, new canopy features, a new amphitheatre with canopy structure, a Beach Ballroom plaza, a secret garden, and structures on Broadhill.

Long-term items to be progressed to detailed design/public consultation/planning consent stages include a new AFC stadium; a new leisure facility, a boardwalk, and a new slipway. The committee agreed an outline business case for a joint facility with AFC that it considers a funding model that requires both the Council and Aberdeen Football Club to fund their share with no cross subsidy.

More information and images are available at Transformative regeneration of Aberdeen city centre, market, and beachfront given go-ahead by councillors


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