Friday, 1 August 2014

Aberdeen's Pocket Genius

Hon Dr Wee Stewartie Milne
Hon Dr Wee Stewartie Milne
You know, when we all grow old and start reminiscing about the good times and the great things we have experienced as planners in our respective illustrious careers, it won't be the talking heads of Scottish Planning that come to mind. I won't mention names and really I don't need to - you all know who they are. And so do they! They turn up at Chapter meetings full of themselves and the latest ideas that they have appropriated from brighter folk and then trivialised for mass consumption.

No! It will be the astonishing success of planning in Aberdeen - in our lifetime. I read in the Press and Journal this week that Hon Dr Wee Stewartie Milne has submitted a proposal of application notice for a residential development with parking at the Cloverleaf Hotel in Bucksburn. Apparently the hotel will be toast! A spokeswoman for the company said yesterday that the building on Kepplehills Drive would be demolished.
Crying out to be demolished - Cloverleaf Hotel
Crying out to be demolished - Cloverleaf Hotel

The firm plans to build houses on the site, but the spokeswoman said it was too early to say how many properties there might be. As an Expert Planner, I know the answer to that. "As many as possible!"  Back in June, the Stewart Milne Group was poised to buy the five-star Marcliffe Hotel in Aberdeen, with plans for a luxury housing development on the site. Hon Dr Wee Stewartie Milne confirmed that the company had an option to acquire the North Deeside Road site.

Even to the stupid talking heads of Scottish Planning the pattern should be obvious. I talked recently about mono-use and how it was the coming thing - in fact mono-use is the new mixed use. These hotels are now seen as 'non-conforming uses'* and will be swept away before you can say ‘Section 63 Notice!’
*(that's a term that I don't expect you all to understand but please just accept that we expert planners use these words to communicate clearly with each other) 

In the same article, it was announced that plans have also been lodged for a new six-storey 200 room hotel as part of a business park development near Aberdeen International Airport. ABZ of course and I have written before about this clever development from the big pencil of John Halliday himself!

The £15m venture from hotel operator Moxy would be its first in the UK. The firm already trades in Milan and plans to open an outlet in London as well as Oslo in Norway and Munich, Berlin, and Frankfurt in Germany. Amazing isn't it - Auchterness brought you this news first! So Aberdeen is viewed very much as an international city and centre of the Oil Universe!

So hotels are being cleared out of residential areas and better hotels are appearing on business parks. Soon we may have hotel parks - that would be logical. And guess who is centre stage in all this - Hon Dr Wee Stewartie Milne - the pocket genius responsible in part for the implementation of the New Scottish Enlightenment in the Aberdeen area.

You know, as winter approaches and we all gather round the log fire with our mugs of Ovaltine to speak in hushed tones about plaicemaking and exchange stories about Copenhagen and other second rate European cities, we will do well to remember that one of our very own cities has had a magnificent year - a year that has completely eclipsed the achievements of European upstarts like Antwerp, Malmo or Stockholm. Let’s celebrate this wonderful achievement now!

Have a great weekend! Best wishes from Auchterness. Cheeriebye for now.

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