IHBC features ‘Heritage form the urban doorstep’ 1: Five Aberdeen high rises to remain A-listed as council appeal fails

The controversial listing of five Aberdeen tower blocks has been backed by the Scottish Government, reports The Aberdeen Press and Journal.

image: HES

… heritage protections could not stop residents altering the insides of their homes…

The Aberdeen Press and Journal writes:

Historic Environment Scotland (Hes) originally awarded eight 1960s ‘slab’ high rises in the city centre category-A listed status.

This puts them on par with Marischal College, the Music Hall and many of the north-east’s much-loved castles.

The heritage buffs argue the ‘brutalist’ blocks – built after the Second World War for social housing – are of “outstanding importance” in telling the story of how Scotland emerged from those dark days.

But now, the government’s planning and environmental appeals division (DPEA) has ruled Thistle Court, Hutcheon Court and Greig Court should not be included in the listing….

Some of that relief might be shared by those living in five other blocks affected as it was ruled the heritage protections could not stop residents altering the insides of their homes.

Five Aberdeen high rises maintain their A-listing

Residents of Porthill Court, Seamount Court, Virginia Court, Marischal Court and Gilcomstoun Land will not have to apply for listed building consent for non-structural work, despite the special status.

Shops at 152-158 Gallowgate and the attached multi-storey carpark in West North Street have also been included in the listing.

Government reporters Allison Coard and Stuart West said they did not accept the presence of all eight blocks was “intrinsically significant”.

Therefore they ruled  “the justification for listing of one does not necessarily flow from the listing of the other”.

However, backing the listing of the five, they added: “We find that the architectural and historic interest of the buildings is demonstrated with the limited exception of the interiors of the individual flats and shops.

“Subject to change to the extent of the listing, we consider the listing should be maintained.”….

Could Aberdeen City Council now prep lawyers to challenge the remaining A-listing of high rises?

The local authority, which owns the majority of properties in the tower blocks, led the appeal against the listing of all eight….

A-listing of five Aberdeen high rises recognition of significance in post-war Scotland

Head of designations at HES, Dara Parsons, said: “These buildings are significant landmarks and tell us much about the ambitions of post-war Aberdeen. There isn’t another group of this quality and distinctiveness in Scotland….

SNP Aberdeen Central MSP Kevin Stewart, a government minister, told us: “….I am still concerned that this decision may not allow the structural works that will be required in the future.”

Read more….

For more background see the Historic Environment Scotland website

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