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Launch of major conservation-led project for the Green

18 August 2009

A multi-million pound project which aims to restore Aberdeen’s historic Green to its former glory officially launches today [Tuesday, 18 August].

The Green Townscape Heritage Initiative (THI) has been set up to tackle the problems of rundown historic buildings and streetscape where long-standing economic and structural decline have undermined the character of the architecturally-rich area.

The launch event at the Carmelite Hotel will be attended by council leader John Stewart, chair of the Green THI board; head of the Heritage Lottery Fund in Scotland Colin McLean; project manager Graham Young; Douglas Campbell, Aberdeen City Heritage Trust; residents; and local business and building owners.

The project, which aims to deliver a co-ordinated approach to the regeneration of this area with public and private sector partnerships, has secured £1.4million of funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund, £525,000 from Aberdeen City Council, £525,000 from Scottish Enterprise and £350,000 from Historic Scotland.

Councillor Stewart said: “Today marks an important step in the further development of the Green and it is great to have the go-ahead from Heritage Lottery to invite applications to start spending on improving the properties in the area.

“The Green THI provides a welcome opportunity to secure investment in key buildings in the area, as well as provide support for homeowners and businesses to improve their properties.

"This will be further enhanced by the streetscape improvements to the area, which are being funded by the city council, which are vital to securing linkages between Union Street and the new Guild Street development. We have £2.8million set aside for this valuable project, which will doubtless make the Green a much more attractive place to live and do business.

Clr Stewart added: “The first visible evidence of the Green THI is already being seen in the streetscape work. I am excited at the prospect of seeing the work begin and the steady improvement of the area over the next four years.”

Colin McLean, head of the Heritage Lottery Fund in Scotland, said: “The Green area of Aberdeen is set to become a well-connected, dynamic area where café culture will thrive alongside small specialist shops and galleries.

“It will be wonderful to see new life breathed into these historic buildings and we are delighted that it is our Townscape Heritage Initiative that is helping drive it forward.”

Martin Fairley, Historic Scotland’s head of investment and policy, said: "The planned works in Aberdeen take in some truly iconic buildings, but the investment will also mean that smaller homes and businesses will also benefit.

“These grant schemes are about allowing the community to demonstrate what areas it feels are important and supporting it financially and with advice on the best way to repair its unique historic environment, creating training opportunities and generating economic growth."

Full details of The Green THI will be available at the launch, including grants for property owners to undertake high quality building repairs, reinstate lost architectural detail and bring vacant historic floor space back into meaningful use. Details of the improvements being undertaken to the streetscape within the THI area will be exhibited.

Specific funding is available in the budget for the four priority projects. They are:
  • The Tivoli;
  • Victoria Buildings, Bridge Street;
  • the former Palace Theatre, Bridge Place;
  • 76-78 and 82-84 Shiprow.

The grant schemes are available to nearly all property owners in the area who wish to undertake high quality repair and restoration of buildings with architectural or group merit.

Funding is available under the main grants scheme for the following categories of work:

  • building repair – grants of up to 60% of eligible costs building repairs not related to routine maintenance. Typical works will include: masonry repairs; lead and rainwater goods; and roof and dormer repairs.
  • re-instatement of architectural detail – grants of up to 75% of eligible costs are available for works which restore lost or obscured detail to a historic façade, such as correct window patterns, original shop fronts or missing decorative ironwork.
  • re-use of historic floor space – projects to restore viable uses to redundant or derelict historic buildings may be eligible for a grant. This may involve a change of use and physical alteration to the character of the internal space to secure, for example residential accommodation from warehouse floors or commercial, office-type uses above shops, bars, etc. The level of grant will be assessed on a project-by-project basis.
  • small grants scheme – the small grant scheme allows owners of any of the eligible buildings identified with the Green Townscape Heritage area to participate in the scheme where their property is not included in the main grant scheme projects. It provides grants for individual items of mainly small-scale external building repair and reinstatement of architectural detail. Small grant scheme projects are likely to have eligible works of up to £5,000, with a grant rate of 60%.

The initiative will enable The Green to play a key role in the development of city centre redevelopment and provide the important first impression of the City and Aberdeenshire to visitors arriving by bus, rail, or sea. The revitalised Green will have an important role in linking Union Street with the bus and railway stations and new commercial developments south of the city centre.

There is obvious potential for the development of a distinct city neighbourhood in The Green, characterised by cafes, restaurants, specialist shops, galleries and a revitalised Tivoli Theatre.

A programme of street work to enhance the streetscape, including the restoration and repair of the granite sett surfaces during the conservation-led regeneration scheme is underway.

It is hoped the THI, which will last for three to five years, will completely regenerate the area by both restoring the historic fabric of the Green and attracting new uses appropriate for a 21st century city.

The Green THI covers the area between Union Street and Guild Street, from Shiprow to Bridge Street, including the Adelphi, the Green, and Market Street.

A map illustrating the properties that are eligible for grant funding can be seen on the internet by clicking on the Green THI boundary map link at www.aberdeencity.gov.uk/Planning/sl_greentown/pla_GreenTownscape_HI.asp

Aberdeen City Council has produced a series of technical guidance notes for undertaking repairs and conversions to buildings within conservation areas. Copies can be downloaded from www.aberdeencity.gov.uk/greenthi

The Green THI is a partnership between Aberdeen City Council, Aberdeen City Heritage Trust, The Heritage Lottery Fund, Historic Scotland and Scottish Enterprise.

For further information about the Green THI contact project manager Graham Young by calling 01224 523318, email gryoung@aberdeencity.gov.uk, or write to The Green THI, 9th floor, St Nicholas House, Broad Street, Aberdeen, AB10 1BW.

Notes to editors

  • The eligible buildings for the main grants scheme are: The Tivoli Theatre; The Victoria Buildings; 76-78 and 82-84 Shiprow; The Palace Theatre; Metro Hotel; 11a-13 Hadden Street; 35-39 Market Street; 2-10 Exchange Street/11 Hadden Street/5-7 Stirling Street/ 56-58 and 60-64 Bridge Street; Carmelite Hotel; 46-52 and 18–44 Market Street; 14–18 Bridge Street/32-38 Windmill Brae; 19 Adelphi; 1 and 3 Bridge Place; 44-50 Green; and 1-7 Trinity Quay.
  • Using money raised through the National Lottery, the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) sustains and transforms a wide range of heritage for present and future generations to take part in, learn from and enjoy. From museums, parks and historic places to archaeology, natural environment and cultural traditions, we invest in every part of our diverse heritage. To date it has invested over £500million in Scotland’s heritage.


For further information


Angela Taylor
01224 523879