Posts tagged ‘Muse Development’

January 9, 2015

The Great Marischal Square Cornswaggle – 3D

The people of Aberdeen have been cornswaggled by their council AGAIN.

The big lie that was Marischal Square is exposed.

 

pinnacle visualisation

 

There is no square. There probably never was any intention of creating a square, by any definition.

We were duped. We were wary of their promises but were duped by that old trick of the public consultation. Look where that’s taken us.

Cast your eyes on this projection for how the Muse Development will look once the concrete is poured and the common land, that belongs to everyone in the city, is turned over to a private development for the erection of tawdry towers.

Willie Young

Which means this development was given the full-hearted support of Labour members of the council willingly.

Not one of them recognised the architectural outrage they were about to impose on the city.

willie young

 

Who voted for this abomination?

For:

Labour: Ramsay Milne, George Adam (Lord Provost), Jenny Laing, Angela Taylor, Willie Young, Barney Crockett, Neil Cooney, Len Ironside, Ross Grant, Graham Lawrence, Tauqueer Malik, Yvonne Allan, Scott Carle, Lesley Dunbar, Jean Morrison, Nathan Morrison, Gordon Graham. SNP: Graham Dickson. Independents: Marie Boulton, Andy Finlayson, John Reynolds, Fraser Forsyth. Conservatives: Alan Donnelly (23)

Against:

SNP: Bill Cormie, Muriel Jaffrey, Callum McCaig, Gordon Townson, Gil Samarai, Sandy Stuart, Andrew May, Jim Kiddie, Jim Noble, Jackie Dunbar, David Cameron, Kirsty Blackman. Liberal Democrat: Jennifer Stewart, Martin Greig, Aileen Malone, Ian Yuill, Steve Delaney. Conservatives: Ross Thomson. (18)

 

Bring on the next election

 

October 9, 2014

Now you see it – now you don’t – Marischal Square

 

The vote was taken at once, and it was agreed by an overwhelming majority that rats were comrades.                                                                                                                                                                (Animal farm)

Aberdeen City Council has reinforced the belief that it is surely one of the most disgraceful and sleekit of local authorities.

It has played a dirty game over the development that it once boasted would be Marischal Square – a great opportunity for a civic space it once promised – an idea that captured the mood of the city’s citizens browned off by a recent diet of lacklustre plans lacking in ambition and confidence.

Did they say square? They did. Did. Not any more. Because square there aint. Unless you follow the logic of Cllr Boulton who, in reply to being challenged on the great disappearing square, muttered something along the lines of – the whole area is a kind of square.

 The erm, Square

Quite.

There used to be a distinctive old street there called Broad Street. Lord Byron, Geordie Gordon, bade there as a child. The old Aberdeen Journals occupied a large property there and Bissets bookshop was there at the other end. There never used to be a square and there sure as hell isn’t going to be one in the near future. Not until these eejits running the council are dead and buried.

So square is now a former concept of a square. This wonderful civic square that would become a hub (councils love the term hub) for city folk and so the idea of Marischal Square was born – no not born, conceived.

Then the council had a think and it thought – hey min there’s nae cash in an empty space.

Come on you didn’t think they’d stick to their word – did you?

 COUNCILLORS'  BRAIN

Average councillor brain

There’s been a lot of talk – encouraging the public to get involved, implying citizens’ views would be taken note of in drawing up the final design. That is until people said,

Yes we want a square – ken fit I mean, min?

Well you ken fit want gets.

It is clear the Labour-led coalition which includes a Tory and Independents while happy to provide a blank sheet for the developers eager to build shops, offices and a hotel is less interested in what the people of the city want. Did I say less interested? Not interested.

Of course councils ignoring the wishes of the people is not a new phenomenon but disappointing nevertheless whenever it occurs and when it doesn’t even try to modify the commercial aspects of the design as a sop to public opinion.

The final decision was taken away from the Planning Committee and put to full council to ensure the commercial proposal went through, as councillors would be more or less voting along party lines. This was nothing short of politicising the scheme and a scandalous manipulation of power on a project that is so controversial.

Cllr Willie Young is reported to have indicated on July 17th this year that the decision had already been taken to go ahead with the Muse development causing consternation among opposition councillors opposed to the deal.

Squares are good

Squares are good

Squares were good

Squares were good

Squares no good

Squares no good

Squares were good but concrete is better

 

What we want is concrete and more concrete. Can’t get enough concrete. Our aim is to concrete over Aberdeen. Concrete is money. Fill the mouths of those who dare to speak out with concrete. That’ll shut them up.

Cllr Jenny Laing tells the world this vibrant developments of offices and shops will prove that Aberdeen is open for business, as if one of the most economically dynamic areas of the UK isn’t already open and doing a grand line in business.

Do people actually vote for these people who speak in banalities?

ACC ratings

Aberdeen Evening Express

Do not imagine, comrades, that leadership is a pleasure.

On the contrary, it is a deep and heavy responsibility.

Contrary to what the Labour group say there is nothing , absolutely nothing in this design to attract people into the city. On the other hand a large photogenic square would most definitely become a tourist attraction as well as a potential gathering place and area for music and entertainment. Think of what some photographs of a fine square with the magnificent Marischal College, the second largest granite building in the world,  in the background and those fine old properties of Upper Kirkgate along one side, would do to enhance the attractiveness of Aberdeen.

Somehow it seemed as though the farm had grown richer without making the animals themselves any richer – except, of course, for the pigs and the dogs.

August 6, 2014

Keep it Simple Aberdeen. Simply a Square.

Marischal College

Keep it simple Aberdeen City Council.

You started this by talking about a civic square – Marischal Square.

Now deliver on your word.

Nothing more. Nothing less. A wonderful large and photogenic

Marischal Square.

Thanks for voting folks. Result of the poll, completely unscientific and none the worse for that, is 97% for an open square and 3% for the proposed Muse development.

It doesn’t prove anything other than people who are interested in Aberdeen’s architecture and how the city develops who read this blog are overwhelmingly against putting crass commercialism before preserving the little piece of magnificence there is in the city.

I hope Aberdeen City Council takes notice but I’ve been around long enough to know that other factors influence its members and permanent staff that have nothing to do with doing the decent and aesthetic considerations.

 

 

 

July 9, 2014

Build around not through and we can have Marischal Square

Aberdeen City Council is totally wrong in its outrageously misleading development of Broad Street – initially bandied around as the formation of a civic square fronting Marischal College.

There is no doubt the spec for the development was drawn up entirely with commercialisation in mind and the public consultation was the usual tokenistic gesture politics for surely there never was any intention to modify economic  priorities  with anything as prosaic as public opinion.  

It is clear that while Aberdeen City Council is happy to provide a blank sheet for the creation of shops, offices, parking  and a hotel it is less interested (uninterested) in what the people of the city want.

Of course councils ignoring peoples’ wishes is hardly a new phenomenon but it is disappointing when it occurs without even the suggestion of any sop to popular opinion.

Contrary to what the Labour group says there is nothing, absolutely nothing in this design to attract people into the city. On the other hand a large photogenic square would most definitely become a tourist attraction as well as a potential hub for local people.  Think of what social media could do to spread images of Aberdeen’s fine civic square with the backdrop of the magnificent Marischal College. Wouldn’t that enhance the attractiveness of Aberdeen?

This development used to be referred to as Marischal Square. Now there is NO SQUARE – instead there is a bog-standard street to be built – and not even a broad one despite being on Broad Street.

But there is a compromise that the council should grasp.

Create a square, or rectangle, from the old St Nix to Upper Kirkgate and along the Flourmill Lane, preserving Provost Skene’s House, with commercial properties. Instead of building over the whole area buildings would surround it. This would result in an open public space facing Marischal College. Such a space would enhance the attractiveness of any hotel fronting an open area instead of into a narrow street.

Surely it is time for the council to listen to its critics over this debacle. It’s not so long ago several of its members were very vocally critical over the awful proposals for Union Terrace Gardens but this is as bad and here we find the Labour group are poachers turned gamekeepers.

You are wrong Jenny Laing, you are wrong Willie Young  – Aberdeen Civic Society and the thousands of people who provided you with their sensible views are correct. In fact you should both be thoroughly ashamed of your small-minded approach to what is a unique opportunity to lay down a real legacy for the city. It speaks volumes that you can’t see this.

Shops, offices, hotel in green. Marischal Square in orange.

Shops, offices, hotel in green. Marischal Square in orange.

 

https://lenathehyena.wordpress.com/2014/05/21/the-marischal-odeon-or-gone-with-the-wind-a-muse-and-council-joint-production

https://lenathehyena.wordpress.com/2014/04/07/move-along-now-nothing-to-see-here-aberdeens-latest-civic-square-debacle

https://lenathehyena.wordpress.com/2013/11/09/the-card-square-project-marishchal-goes-phut

May 21, 2014

The Marischal Odeon or Gone with the Wind: A Muse and Council Joint Production

The controversial £107million plan by Muse Development, part of the Morgan Sindall Group, to build a block of shops, car parks, offices and hotel in front of Marischal College in Aberdeen has been lodged with the council and is so awful it is pretty well certain to be given the green light.

The common good land is about to be leased to private developers for the next 35 years to do with as they please. While local opinion is for tearing down St Nicholas House and having no building replacing it thereby creating a large open square to front Marischal College Aberdeen council and the developers are pushing ahead with commercialising the space. Let us hope that 35 years down the line it doesn’t get passed on from one private leaseholder to another until eventually the land is lost to the public. Not that this would ever happen. Of course that has never happened. No of course not.

Various consultations have taken place and some 4000 opinions provided which Muse said have been noted. Well all I can say is you will be hard pressed to detect much alteration in their plans.

Try as I might to open the detailed plans on the council website I failed but at least I had the council press release to reassure me how much the new build will improve the site ‘once dominated by the former council headquarters building St Nicholas House.’

I was more successful finding a link to the Final Report on Pedestrian Level Wind, doesn’t sound like much fun, and discovered the council’s reassurances were less than convincing.

Take a keek at this
http://planning.aberdeencity.gov.uk/docs/showimage.asp?j=140698&index=122914

Wind analysis of the site highlighted a ‘relatively windy microclimate at ground level’ in parts of the area – nearest Union Street – the result of wind ‘blowing around the St Nicholas House building, which is comparatively tall in relation to the surrounding buildings.’

Hold that thought as you check out the picture showing a model of the proposal and absorb its height in relation to surrounding buildings.

According to the Report around the 469 year old Provost Skene’s House it will become significantly windier because wind will be channelled between it and the proposed hotel. Conversely it argued that with more tall buildings the southeast area, around the rapidly disappearing St Nicholas House, would become less windy – losing the wind tunnel impact of St Nix.

The Report envisaged potential problems for pedestrians moving to and from the north and west of the site and suggested this might be dealt with by ‘solid or porous side-screens or recessing the entrances into the building.’

Landscaping would provide other types of screening. I think they mean shrubberies and trees but possibly more screens to
‘create suitable conditions for sitting.’

To avoid being rocketed into space people occupying the roof terraces would have to be sheltered by high balustrades or yet more screens and planting – and possibly guy ropes.

All of the above were put forward as mitigating measures for everyday breezes off the North Sea which are a feature of the Castelgate and Broad Street. When wind levels increase, as they do quite often in this part, then it’ll be a case of haud ontae yer hats folks because you can expect something ‘in excess of Beaufort Force 7’ that’s gale force, around the proposed pedestrianised corner, near to Provost Skene’s which ‘would cause pedestrians to experience difficulty walking’ Nae reading the P & J wi a cappuccino then – small comforts there. But just to be on the safe side you won’t be allowed access when winds get up – ‘restricted access during the windiest times during the year.’ Occasionally winds reach Beaufort Force 8 in this area.

So as well as having their access restricted when the wind blows the good folk of Aberdeen will be subjected to frequent bad hair days when venturing through Muse’s world bearing in mind Aberdeen is windier than many other parts of the UK.

For your information wind levels are classified according to levels of ‘comfort’ for ‘business walking’, ‘carpark/roadway’, ‘leisure walking’, ‘standing/entrance’, ‘sitting.’

Business walking you’ll appreciate means not hanging around but keeping up a steady pace, possibly while carrying a briefcase or other business accoutrements but almost certainly not soliciting with a nonchalant swagger. It is possibly advisable to do the business walk when approaching or circumnavigating Provost Skene’s House to cope with serious wind problems in its vicinity although with the wind at your back you may not require oxygen. It should be added at this juncture that if the proposed hotel were not erected here then wind wouldn’t be an issue but it will be – unless of course Provost Skene’s is demolished which would resolve the wee issue of a wind tunnel between it and the hotel. Business is business after all.

A heids doon fecht wi a nor’easterly isn’t what most folk expected when the council promised a pedestrianised area for leisure and pleasure – brisk walking being the main activity it would seem.

Oh well, there’s always the screens. Sounds like a promising business venture for councillor Swick. They’ll be needing so many screens when this proposal gets the thumbs up it can only be called the Marischal Odeon.

There’s been a lot of wind expended over this project with lots more to come. The bottom line is there’s a strong desire for a very large open square fronting Marischal College. This is not what Aberdeen Council wants because while thousands aired their opinions its money that talks in the end.

With a choice between what the people of Aberdeen want and multinational businesses the council has chosen business all the way.

Councillor Willie Young was quoted in the Press & Journal 17 May as saying
‘Some people who have responded have misunderstood what the consultation was about.
‘The council entered into a binding legal agreement with Muse on a leaseback basis.
‘It was never for the council to determine that it would be an open space – it’s a commercial space.’

Actually it isn’t a commercial space it is common good land and belongs to the people of Aberdeen.

https://lenathehyena.wordpress.com/2014/04/07/move-along-now-nothing-to-see-here-aberdeens-latest-civic-square-debacle/

https://lenathehyena.wordpress.com/2013/11/09/the-card-square-project-marishchal-goes-phut/