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16 December 2015

Provost Skene's House, Marischal Square and Greyfriars Church statement

Our statement on the Marischal Square development in Aberdeen.

Planning application

The Marischal Square development was granted planning permission by the planning authority, Aberdeen City Council, on 09 December 2014 (Planning Application reference P140698). In its decision to approve the development, the planning authority took into account various representations and objections received from the public, as well as the advice received from statutory consultees. Historic Scotland was one of these statutory consultees.

A summary of Historic Scotland’s role and advice is provided below.

Role of Historic Scotland

As a statutory consultee, Historic Scotland was consulted by Aberdeen City Council specifically regarding the potential impact the proposed development might have on the setting of the A listed Provost Skene’s House, Marischal College and Greyfriars Church. Historic Scotland considered the detailed proposals carefully before coming to its conclusion. The details of the proposed development, upon which Historic Scotland based its reply, were and still remain available on the City Council’s planning public website.

Historic Scotland’s advice to Aberdeen City Council

Historic Scotland concluded that the proposed development would not have any significant adverse impact on the setting of the above-mentioned A listed buildings and therefore advised the planning authority that they did not object to the planning application. Notwithstanding Historic Scotland’s position, the City Council, as planning authority, was required to reach its own view on the impact on setting as part of its determination of the planning application.

Historic Scotland’s conclusion was shaped by the fact that the application site comprised a postwar modernist development, including the 14-storey tower block, St Nicholas House. In view of this, it was considered that the proposed Marischal Square scheme, although increasing building mass and height directly opposite Marischal College and to the rear of Provost Skene’s House, would not harm the setting of the listed buildings to any greater extent than the previous modernist development. In particular, Historic Scotland was satisfied that the primacy of Marischal College and Greyfriars Church in the street scene of Broad Street would be maintained and that the more intimate localised setting of Provost Skene’s would also remain.

Download a copy of the consultation reply letter dated 22 June 2014 from Historic Scotland to Aberdeen City Council.

Please note

On 1 October 2015, Historic Scotland and The Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland (RCAHMS) ceased to operate and have been replaced by a new organisation, Historic Environment Scotland (HES). This new organisation (which is a Non Departmental Public Body) was established by the Historic Environment Scotland Act 2014.