Eight high-rise buildings granted A-list status

The HES say they are examples of some of the ‘finest social housing in Scotland'.

Eight high-rise buildings granted A-list status STV News
Eight Aberdeen High Rises granted listed building status

Eight multi-storey buildings in Aberdeen have been granted Category A listed building status by Historic Environment Scotland (HES). 

The city’s Gilcomstoun Land, Porthill Court, Seamount Court, Virginia Court, Marischal Court, Thistle Court, Hutcheon Court, and Greig Court are now classed as being of outstanding importance.

Historic Environment Scotland (HES) say the post war architecture and design mean they are examples of some of the “finest social housing in Scotland”.

The decision comes after Aberdeen City Council publicly objected to the proposal last year over increased maintenance costs concerns. 

Andrew Rudgley, a resident from Seamount Court, said the decision has left him in disbelief.

He said: “I’m absolutely shocked – it’s ridiculous, the block is not efficient in any way. The flats are cold and need constant work but now it’s on par with Crathes Castle.

“Listing them is a slap in the face and fails to acknowledge its serious problems. The building doesn’t need protection, it needs upgraded, modernised or knocked down. The council has let everyone down – they objected to the plans, but obviously not strongly enough.”

Last month, ahead of the decision, STV News spoke with residents at Seamount Court and Greig Court.

Robert Burns, resident at Seamount Court, said: “I think you would be better off just pulling them down.

“I worry that it will increase costs to get anything fixed and cause big restrictions if we decide to sell our flat on. 

“I feel our hands will be more or less tied and we won’t get the price we’re looking for, I think we’d end up losing money on our place.”

Sandy Bruce, a resident at Greig Court for over a decade, said: “It could mean extra hassle to get anything fixed or done.

“There’s no reason to give them listed status apart from them being old. They’ve had bits added on throughout the years, so there’s nothing original about them.”

HES said the consultation process considered residents’ views and they are working with Aberdeen City Council to produce guidance for residents about what listing means.

The body also claims they will carry out energy research into the flats in partnership with the council to help ensure that they remain as energy efficient as possible.

Elizabeth McCrone, head of designations at HES, said: “Listing is a way of recognising buildings and structures that create Scotland’s distinctive character, and through which we can discover more about the stories of our past.

“By designating and building these flats the Aberdeen City Architects Department were at the cutting edge of new thinking about town planning and housing.

These buildings were very carefully designed and used superior materials to many of the less-successful types of multi-storey housing of this era which have now been demolished.

“Listing doesn’t mean that a structure has to stay the same forever or remain in its original use.

“Rather, it means that there is a special interest that should be taken into account in the planning process.

“Exceptional architecture has always been built in Scotland and the Aberdeen flats should be celebrated as a key part of our 20th century heritage, which help us understand the ambitions and aspirations of the city at that time.”

The proposal to list the buildings came from Miles Glendinning, a professor of modern architecture who was contacted by residents.

Prof Glendinning said: “I’m a great admirer of the Granite City, and these buildings fit into its fabric, both in material (using granite in their construction) and in how they’ve been built into the historic and modern urban pattern.

“In architectural terms, these buildings stand out because architecturally and socially, they are a continuation of the civic-mindedness and pride of previous generations of great Aberdonians.

“They are also a social success, which for me is just as important as the architectural interest.

An Aberdeen City Council spokeswoman said: “We are aware of the decision by HES to list eight multi-storey buildings in Aberdeen city centre. 

“Council officers are considering the implications of this decision and are assessing the options to allow this to be reported to a future committee in due course.”