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Agenda item

Land at Corner of St Machar Drive and Bedford Road, West of HUB - 171075


The Forum had before it a report by the Interim Head of Planning and Sustainable Development on a submission of a Proposal of Application Notice (PoAN) by Ryden (Aberdeen) on behalf of their client, the University of Aberdeen, for a proposed major development of approximately 6000sqm of class 10 (non-residential institution, comprising a science teaching hub, associated infrastructure and landscaping, at Land on the corner of St Machar Drive and Bedford Road Aberdeen, 171075.


The report advised that site extended to 1.04 hectares and incorporated an area of useable open space land to the south of St Machar Drive, to the east of Bedford Road, to the north of the existing Fraser Noble building and to the west of the existing Hub building.  The open space was elevated above road level by 2 metres with steeply sloping embankments down to St Machar Road and Bedford Road.  The site was mostly grassed with a number of medium-sized trees near to the boundary with Bedford Road and towards the eastern boundary, one of which was a mature tree,


The Forum heard from Mr Phil Hannaford (University of Aberdeen) and David Dalgleish (Reaich and Hall Architects) in regards to the proposed application.  Mr Hannaford explained that the university had been teaching science subjects for over 500 years and the facilities required to be updated and replaced.  As a result the applicant proposed building new facilities within the campus.  Mr Dalgleish explained that they aimed to create a link for pedestrians from the existing buildings at the University and highlighted that the service year in place at present could also be used.  He also advised that in regards to materials for the proposed building, they aimed to create a quality building with the use of masonry materials. 


The Forum then heard from Gavin Clark, Case Officer, who addressed the Forum and provided details regarding the planning aspects of the application and responded to questions from members.  Mr Clark explained that there were a number of relevant policies in regards to the proposed application and the most relevant being policy CF1 – Existing Community Sites and Facilities.  Mr Clark explained that Councillors may wish to consider the principle of the development, the loss of an area of open space, design scale and layout, the impact on the surrounding conservation area and any transportation issues as well as any other documents they feel should be submitted with a planning application.


In regards to public consultation events, the report advised that the first public event took place on Tuesday 26 September and a second event was scheduled for mid-November 2017.  Local Elected Members and Community Council members were invited to attend the public consultation. 


Members then asked a number of questions in regards to the proposals and the following information was noted:-

  • In regards to the public consultation event held, members of the public were generally happy with the proposals and the proposals were well received;
  • In regards to future proposals, the University did not have any firm plans to develop any other sites at present;
  • The green space was not currently used for any specific purpose;
  • The applicant looked at refurbishing the current building however it would be more cost effective to rebuild;
  • In regards to policy NE3, Urban Green Space, the application did conflict with the policy, however it would be up to the applicant to justify a departure from the policy.


The report recommended:-

That the Forum –

(a)          note the key issues identified;

(b)          if necessary, seek clarification on any particular matters; and

(c)          identify relevant issues which they would like the applicant to consider and address in any future application.


The Forum resolved:-

(i)            to request that the applicant consider the safety of pedestrians on Bedford Road and St Machar Drive as a priority;

(ii)          to note the various policies and assessments which would be required upon submission of the application, including NE3 (Urban Green Space); and

(iii)         to thank Mr Hannaford and Mr Dalgleish for their informative presentation.



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