Beach Masterplan to be undertaken to improve connectivity to city centre

A Beach Masterplan is to be developed including public consultation and technical feasibility studies after councillors agreed to the move at committee.

The members of Aberdeen City Council’s city growth and resources committee approved a report outlining the project which would improve connectivity between the beach area and the city centre.

The masterplan would capitalise on the built and natural assets of the area which is a tourism priority in its own right and is likely to be more in demand in a post-Covid-19 and recovery phase as people seek safe, outdoor, wildlife, and active experiences. The beach area is also an intrinsic component of the Aberdeen Coastal Trail, and the wide variety of tourism offer that includes nature, golf, maritime history, and dolphin watching.

Aberdeen City Council City Centre Masterplan spokesperson Councillor Marie Boulton said: “The beach area is one of the best resources we have in Aberdeen in terms of leisure, tourism, and future potential so it is great we are embarking on a Masterplan.

“We look forward to the next stages to find out what the public would like from the area, and what is feasible.”

The one-mile long Aberdeen beach is in the heart of the city running from Fittie to Donmouth Nature Reserve, and also acts as a gateway to other beaches to the north.

The area received the Resort Seaside Award in 2013 and given its location a short distance from Aberdeen city centre, it provides an opportunity to attract new footfall to the city. It is actively promoted by both VisitScotland and VisitAberdeenshire for its popular recreational and sports area, and the Beach Leisure Centre, Linx Ice Area, a range of cafes, restaurants, and a family funfair. It is therefore a component of the VisitAberdeenshire destination planning and contributes to wider development work on the North East of Scotland adventure tourism.

In terms of wider economic recovery of cities, the beach area is an opportunity and tourism asset. As it is located almost in the city centre, it provides Aberdeen with a distinct and unique advantage to generate new visits and spend over other UK destinations.

The in-scope amenities and assets within this beach area review would include, but are not limited to, the Beach Boulevard, a grand procession to the beach encouraging pedestrian friendly active travel and developing activity along the route, connectivity between the beach and city centre, Queens Links, Beach Ballroom with a condition survey, Beach Leisure Centre/Ice rink condition survey, Broad Hill, the cricket pitch, coastal defence, and ground conditions.

Preliminary discussions with Sport Aberdeen and Aberdeen Football Club have been undertaken to understand the possible land that could be in scope. As part of further consultation with the public, this will also include engagement with appropriate stakeholders in the area.

Several work packages will be developed as part of the Masterplan and these include public consultation and assessment of demand, an outline design option, economic impact assessment, detailed site appraisal including planning considerations, ground investigation and site constraints, land ownership, connectivity and accessibility assessment, landscape character assessment, environmental impact assessment, and financial appraisal. The estimated costs for these work packages including contingency is £1.2million.

An update on the output of the technical feasibility studies, public consultation and proposed Beach Masterplan will be reported to the city, growth and resources committee on 10 August 2021.

The report to committee can be viewed at CGR - Beach Review Scope 110521 CI.pdf (aberdeencity.gov.uk)