Work to start on city centre improvement project

Construction is to start on Monday June 3rd on a public realm scheme designed to enhance the accessibility, setting and use of the Schoolhill area in preparation for the reopening of Aberdeen Art Gallery later this year. 

Aberdeen City Council has allocated £550,000 to the project, which received additional support from the regional transport partnership Nestrans. The project also received funding from Transport Scotland in partnership with the active travel charity, Sustrans Scotland.

The scheme, approved last year, will provide:  

  • A new layout to balance the place and traffic movement needs in Schoolhill 

  • Accessibility for all with a graded entrance plaza to the Art Gallery 

  • Steps and ramp to the Art Gallery 

  • A greater footway area to the setting of the War Memorial, replacing concrete slab terraces with local granite  

The construction period will be approximately 10 weeks and at times a one-way system will be in operation on Schoolhill.  

Councillor Marie Boulton, lead for the City Centre Masterplan, said: “We are delighted to be announcing the start of works in Schoohill as a pivotal project in the city centre just weeks after appointing a contractor for the regeneration of nearby Union Terrace Gardens. 

“Significant investment is being made by both the public and private sector in Schoolhill and thanks to the on-going support of the community, stakeholders, partners and businesses, Aberdeen is continuing on its transformational journey.  

This Schoolhill project aligns with the long-term vision for the city centre – shaped by residents – of a cleaner, greener, safer place to visit, work and live.”  

Project materials will complement the historic built environment: 

  • Aberdeenshire Corrennie pink granite for the new steps to the Art Gallery, matching existing façades  

  • Scottish whinstone for the footways 

  • Local grey Blackhills granite for a new ramp to the café 

The access road outside Robert Gordon’s College will be retained, with a modification to the carriageway geometry.  

Footfall is set to grow substantially in the area. The Art Gallery, which is undergoing a multi-million redevelopment, is due to re-open in autumn and other new premises will opening their doors onto Schoolhill later in 2019.  

Plans are being drawn up and funding sought for Stage 2 of the public realm project, which would include retaining the existing mature trees and extending the plaza along the northern edge of Schoolhill to create a new city centre destination.