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A tribunal has refused plans to build a visitor centre at a disused granite quarry. Image courtesy: BBC.
A tribunal has refused plans to build a visitor centre at a disused granite quarry. Image courtesy: BBC.

Setback to visitor centre plans

An owner’s plans to turn a historic granite quarry into a heritage centre has been denied by a tribunal, effectively putting on the rocks plans years in the making.

As previously reported by Quarry, Rubislaw Quarry co-owner and businessman Hugh Black has spent the past seven years lobbying the city council in Aberdeen, Scotland to transform the pit into an inland diving spot and visitor centre that would celebrate and capitalise on Aberdeen’s granite heritage.

In mid-2017, Black further took advantage of the quarry’s potential by welcoming a squad of experienced triathletes to take a dip in the 142m deep man-made pit.

However, after Black applied in November to vary title conditions at the site in order to allow the project to go ahead, the Lands Tribunal for Scotland denied the plans earlier this month.

Quarry’s rocky road to visitor centre

Plans laid out by Black – who is also the managing director of Rubislaw Quarry – were first included in Aberdeen City Council’s Strategic Infrastructure Plan in 2013.

Planning approval to build a “unique and iconic visitor centre to celebrate Aberdeen's granite heritage and the granite industry” was eventually approved in 2015.

However, it was later revealed that Canadian developer Carttera also submitted plans to develop the quarry into a residential neighbourhood complete with a “heritage bistro” that would “showcase the history of the famous site”.

It is understood the developer’s plans include a building spanning up to 10 storeys that have been inspired by the blocks of granite taken out of the quarry in years past. Its final plans will be submitted to Aberdeen City Council in early 2018.

A report by the Press and Journal quoted Carterra’s founding partner Jim Tadeson as stating the company would continue to “vehemently oppose” Black’s proposal as it would “protect the natural state of the site better”.

“Obviously, we have another heritage centre proposed next to us, which we have been opposed to all along”, Tradeson said.

“We have always believed that the area where that centre is proposed should be preserved in its natural state. It should never have been proposed there, and we are fighting it vehemently, and we intend to fight it all the way to the very end,” he added.

Black has six weeks to lodge an appeal against the tribunal decision.

Rubislaw Quarry was first opened in 1740 and for more than 200 years supplied an estimated six million tonnes of granite to Aberdeen’s buildings, giving the city the moniker ‘The Granite City’.

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Friday, 22 June, 2018 12:08am
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