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30 December 2021

Listing of Aberdeen multi-storey flats

A statement on our response to the DPEA decision following the appeal of the Aberdeen flats listing

Aberdeen Tower Blocks Thistle Court Full West Elevation


In January 2021, Historic Environment Scotland (HES) listed eight multi-storey blocks in Aberdeen -  Gilcomstoun Land, Gallowgate (Seamount and Porthill Courts), Castlehill (Marischal and Virginia Courts), Thistle Court, Hutcheon Court and Greig Court - in recognition of their architectural and historic interest. 

HES found the landmark flats to be buildings of outstanding architectural quality, which illustrate the physical and social changes taking place in post-war Scotland. The unique value and interest of the group, with all eight of the multi-storey blocks planned as part of the original scheme surviving, was also reflected in the listing. 

The initial suggestion to consider these buildings for listing came from residents of the flats, and the decision to list was taken after public consultation. HES engaged with Aberdeen City Council, residents and other local stakeholders to ensure that the purpose and implications of listing were clear. We also supported the council as they developed guidance on listed building consent specifically for the flats.     

The appeal  

Owners, occupiers and tenants have a legal right to appeal a listing decision to Scottish Ministers. Aberdeen City Council appealed the listing decisions in April 2021.   

Appeals are handled by the Planning and Environmental Appeals Division (DPEA) of Scottish Government. HES, the City Council and interested third parties have provided further information to DPEA reporters as part of the appeal process. 

HES statement 

In December 2021, DPEA announced their decision on the appeals in this case. 

Of the eight buildings listed, DPEA found that HES’s decision to list was correct for five of those listings - Porthill Court, Seamount Court, Virginia Court, Marischal Court and Gilcomstoun Land. They have asked HES to exclude some of the interiors for these buildings, which the organisation will do. They have also asked for three of the eight listings at Hutcheon and Greig Courts and Thistle Court to be removed and HES will now delist these buildings.   

Responding to the announcement, Dara Parsons, Head of Designations at HES, said:  

“We note the Reporter’s decision in this case and are pleased that they agree with HES that five of the eight listed buildings should remain listed at category A. 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.

“While the Reporter has asked us to remove three of the listings, it’s important that the remaining listed buildings have been recognised for their contribution to Scotland’s story. We hope that while three of the buildings will not be listed that their interest will be carefully considered in any plans for their future.” 

For further information, click here to visit the DPEA website.