City Centre Masterplan brings urban living focus

Proposals to boost the number of people living in the heart of Aberdeen by 3,000 over the next 25 years are to be explored under the City Centre Masterplan.

Aberdeen City Council’s City Growth and Resources Committee has asked officers to consult with housebuilders, the local business community and other key stakeholders on a strategy drawn up by leading real estate firm, Savills.

The City Living Strategy said Aberdeen was going through a period of significant transformation under the CCMP – but that challenges include limited high quality contemporary stock and the expense of converting older buildings to residential compared to using a new greenfield site.

Suggestions from Savills for achieving the CCMP’s target of 1,500 additional homes include creating a flagship residential project; forming a dedicated City Living Team; and a time-limited freeze on developers’ contributions and affordable housing for schemes of 50 units or fewer.

Councillor Marie Boulton, City Centre Masterplan spokeswoman, said: “Increasing the number of city centre residents can have major economic benefits for local businesses and the wider city community.

“A necessary next step is to consult with a wide range of stakeholders on the strategy and for officers to use that feedback in drawing up a proposed action plan for delivering homes and drawing people into the heart of Aberdeen.

“The housing market has had its struggles in recent years but under the City Centre Masterplan we have an opportunity to capitalise on the evident desire for urban living.”

Research carried out by Savills showed that in the city centre:

  • There are 8,521 households (8% of total), with a considerably higher share of residents aged between 20 and 29
  • Owner occupation and private rented households accounts for 36% and 37% respectively, compared to 57% and 17% across the City
  • In line with wider trends, the number of transactions in the city centre in the year to March 2017 fell by 30% against the 10-year average of 500 a year, and values by 4% against the 10-year average of £152,714
  • While cost, type and availability of housing influences where people choose to live, the study highlighted the importance of the environment and amenities and said investment in the public realm was critical to securing residential investment

The consultation results will be brought back to committee in the autumn when it will also consider separate feedback on the wider Council Housing build programme.

The report (item 9.10) can be found here.