Aberdeen DONSIDE

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                                    ABERDEEN DONSIDE CONSTITUENCY (Scottish Parliament)                                                 

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  BRIAN ADAM MSP : 1948-2013                                   

Aberdeen SNP's first Parliamentarian. 

►  Member of the Scottish Parliament:--  North-East (Regional) 1999 - 2003  ;  Aberdeen North  2003 - 2011 ;  Aberdeen Donside 2011 - 2013. 

►  Aberdeen City Councillor:--  Middlefield 1988 - 1995  ;  Middlefield & Heathryfold 1995 - 1999.                                                                 

b. Newmill, near Keith,  Banffshire.  A biochemist at City Hospital, then Aberdeen Royal Infirmary. 

Married to Dorothy,  with four sons and one daughter. 

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  TECA replaces the AECC                                                                                                                    

Aberdeen's new exhibition and conference centre opened in August 2019. TECA (short for The Event Complex Aberdeen) is on the A96 Inverurie Road at Bucksburn, on the site of the former Rowett Institute. 

The £333 million development's 12,500-capacity P&J Live arena will host conferences, exhibitions, concerts, shows and other major events. In addition, there are seven smaller conference suites, three exhibition halls, nine meetings rooms, hospitality suites, a 150-seater restaurant and an energy centre. Altogether, there will be 48,000 square metres of world-class, multi-purpose event space available. A four-star Hilton Hotel with 200 bedrooms, and an Aloft Hotel with 150 bedrooms will be situated in nearby East Burn Road,  and there will be 2,500 parking spaces.

The facility has been forecast to contribute an additional 4.5million visitors, £113million of visitor-spend and £63million net Gross Value Added to the Scottish economy. It is also expected that 352 full-time-equivalent permanent positions will be created by its tenth year in operation. Scottish Enterprise contributed £10million towards construction of the new centre. Deputy First Minister John Swinney said: “As the Energy Capital of Europe and a global centre for expertise in technology, the Scottish Government is keen to promote Aberdeen as a focus for international investment and events. This new investment will provide world-class facilities that will serve the city and shire, and Scotland, for years to come. This new facility will provide a valuable asset, significantly strengthening the capacity to attract international conferences to the city."   
### The SNP Annual National Conference took place at TECA on 13--15 October 2019.                                                                   

►The original Aberdeen Exhibition & Conference Centre (AECC) at Bridge of Don opened in 1985, and was estimated to benefit the Aberdeen and NE economies by around £100million annually. Its  main buildings were considerably redeveloped and expanded in April 2003, with the addition of a viewing tower. Although £18million had been spent on the expansion, the main arena was later considered to be too small to cater for large pop concerts. It was also uncertain what could be done to clear the centre's considerable accumulated debt.

Late in 2012, the centre's managing director announced plans to find £20million to rebuild on the same site. However, on 17 October 2013, Aberdeen City Council said it wanted to seek a replacement. After first considering locations closer to Aberdeen International Airport, it was decided to build on the 130-acre Rowett Institute site.

The land at Bridge of Don will be redeveloped. First to go was the Holiday Inn, which closed in April 2018 and is likely to be demolished. However, the adjacent Holiday Inn Express is expected to stay open. Work on knocking down part of the conference centre buildings began in early March, but the main reception building fronting Ellon Road and the adjacent 160ft. Northern Lights viewing tower (pictured) have been retained, and were bought by King's Community Church in September. A "mixed-use" development of the site will include 498 new homes, commercial and business space, a recycling centre and a park-and-ride facility

 

### See below for STRATHCONA HOUSE demolished.

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   ABERDEEN BAY wind turbines

The European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre (EOWDC) is a pioneering offshore wind test and demonstration facility, consisting of 11 turbines in Aberdeen Bay.

Overall planning and implementation of the £335million project -- with a €40million contribution from the European Union -- was carried out by Vattenfall AB of Stockholm. The nine V164-8.4 MW and two V164-8.8 MW turbines were specially designed by MHI Vestas Offshore Wind A/S of Aarhus, Denmark  They have a tip height of 191 metres, while each of the three huge blades on each turbine is 80 metres long. They will be the most powerful offshore wind turbines in the world.

Boskalis N.V. of Papendrecht, Netherlands, was responsible for the construction and installation of the offshore infrastructure, including the foundations and cabling. The massive Asian Hercules III floating crane lifted and installed the yellow, three-legged, 77 metre-high, 1,800 tonne "suction bucket" jacket foundations in Aberdeen Bay. The turbines were transported from Esbjerg, and erected by Swire Blue Ocean’s Pacific Orca jack-up vessel, which is believed to be the largest of its type. The first turbine was in place on 9 April 2018, and the final eleventh on 26 May 2018. About 1.5 miles from the coast, they run south, in three rows, from Blackdog to the Murcar Golf Course. An undersea cable connects them to a new electricity substation at Blackdog. A further cable goes to the Scottish & Southern Energy substation at Dyce which, in turn, is connected to SSE's national grid substation at Leylodge, near Kintore. 

Two of the EOWDC turbines commenced power generation on 1 July 2018, with the rest following by the end of the month.  The windfarm has an installed capacity of 92.4MW, and will have the potential to produce enough energy for nearly 80,000 homes per annum -- that's 70% of Aberdeen’s domestic electricity demand and 23% of the city’s total demand. First Minister Nicola Sturgeon officially opened the project on 7 September 2018. The ceremony took place aboard a NorthLink Ferries vessel, which had transported her, Energy Minister Paul Wheelhouse, Vattenfall representatives, and over 100 other dignitaries to the site. The facility is designed to last for 20 years.

Note: In Nov. 2013, Donald Trump maintained that the windfarm would "spoil the view" from his coastal Trump International Golf Course, on the Menie Estate, near Balmedie. This is despite the fact that the nearest turbine is actually some distance south of the course!  In a bid to halt the project, Mr. Trump took legal action against the Scottish Government. However, after court hearings lasting over two years, the future US President ultimately lost his battle. Apparently, none of the golfers at Murcar are blaming the turbines for sliced shots off the tee!

### Learn more. Click on www.youtube.com/watch?v=E1ZCq-JVbyc

 

Section of AWPR opened                                                                                                                   

The EOWDC turbines are just offshore from another of the city's key infrastructure projects.

A 4.3mile section of the Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route, between Blackdog Junction and Parkhill (near Dyce), opened for traffic on 27 June 2018, followed by the 7.5mile-long A90 Balmedie-Tipperty dual carriageway, on August 15. The road was finally opened on 19 February 2019, with the completion of the Parkhill-Craibstone section. 

Keith Brown -- in one of his last statements as Cabinet Secretary for the Economy, Jobs & Fair Work -- said: "I am sure this news will be appreciated by local communities, road users and businesses in the North-East, who continue to be extremely patient while these works are being undertaken. We said we would open new sections of road when possible, and we have stood by that commitment."

The GoNorthEast Road Festival, on 8--9 Sept. 2018 was a free public event to celebrate the part opening of one of the largest infrastructure projects in the country. 14,000 people were allowed onto a section of the route. Aberdeen North MP Kirsty Blackman was one of the 1,500 cyclists who "tried out" the new road.

### Drone view of  Blackdog-Parkhill section --  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mawn3AsDHio&feature=youtu.be     

### Driving eastbound:--  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xsud8gY988c                                                      

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  New housing at GRANDHOME

More than 600 houses are to be built at Grandhome, a northern riverside suburb of Aberdeen.

This marks the first construction phase for the community, which could eventually expand to 4,700 homes, including commercial, retail, leisure and public space. The Grandhome Trust was enabled to proceed with the project after receiving an initial £7.9million loan from the Scottish Government's Housing Infrastructure Fund. 

In 2016-17, some £50million in grants and loans will be available from this national fund, to "help unlock strategically important housing sites across the country". This will come on top of Aberdeen City Council's Affordable Housing Programme allocation being boosted by £10.9million this year – a 70% increase on 2015. Local Government & Housing Minister Kevin Stewart (pictured) visited the site on 4 November 2016, to see the project getting under way.

Mr. Stewart commented: “I am really pleased the first loan from this important Scottish Government fund is being used to unlock a key housing site. The first phase of 600 houses will include at least 90 affordable homes. Today's announcement underlines this Government’s determination to increase the pace and scale of development to deliver more homes. I look forward to further loans and grants being granted to projects across the country. We have listened to our partners, and are putting in place measures to support the increase in the supply of homes across all tenures; support jobs in the construction industry, and encourage inclusive growth in the wider economy. We have committed to delivering 50,000 more affordable homes --- with 35,000 available for social rent -- over the next five years, backed up with investment of more than £3billion. Projects such as this one today marks another step on the road to delivering that pledge.”

And at CLOVERHILL                                                                                                                              

A new "coastal village" of 550 new homes has been approved for a site just north of Aberdeen Energy Park in Bridge of Don.

For ten years, the 22.5 hectare site at Cloverhill, east of the A92 Ellon road, had been intended for business and industry use, but "poor market conditions" resulted in it being subsequently rezoned for housing. The £110million development will consist of a mix of flats, detached and semi-detached houses and some bungalows. 30 of the units will be powered by hydrogen fuel cells.
Construction will be in three phases, with around 145 affordable homes being the first to be built.  Almost half of the site will be open green space, consisting of landscaping, parkland and pathways. In addition, there will be an all-weather floodlit football pitch, which will be home to junior football club Bridge of Don Thistle. The Silver Burn, which traverses the site, will be retained and enhanced. There will be a village square with small retail and business units, including spaces for a convenience store, cafe and hairdresser. 

There are also plans to build houses on the site of the former Silverburn House. On the north side of Parkway East, this very large office block was originally built in the early 1980s for the Occidental oil company, but was demolished in 2019. In total, 119 residential units would be mainly made up of two and three-bedroom terraced houses, as well as two and three-bedroom flats. Around a quarter of the homes would be affordable housing. The adjacent Silverburn Sports Centre on Claymore Drive has been retained for public use, but the former tennis courts have been converted to a car park.

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   Major expansion of ABERDEEN AIRPORT

Details of a £20million redevelopment of Aberdeen International Airport have been announced.

On a visit to Aberdeen on 1 February 2016, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said that the redevelopment programme would result in the main passenger terminal being doubled in size, and would be the biggest transformation of the airport since 1977. The changes include an expansion of the departure lounge and international arrivals facilities, an expanded security search area, increased executive lounge capacity, new baggage reclaim areas, and more shops and restaurants. The upgrades are expected to be completed by 2018. Scotland's third biggest airport has been owned and operated by AGS Airports Ltd., a subsidiary of Ferrovial S.A. of Madrid and Macquarie Group Ltd. of Sydney, since December 2014. The company also owns Glasgow and Southampton Airports.

Statistics provided by the Aviation Trust show that aviation accounts for 20% of Scottish exports and 88% of our international visitor arrivals. The UK's Air Passenger Duty currently ranks as the highest air passenger tax in the world and --  intentionally or not --has been used by the Westminster Government to discourage airlines from developing routes to and from Scotland. It has been regularly cited as a major reason why airports such as Aberdeen lose out to foreign competitors. In addition to costing the country over two million passengers per annum, a 2012 report commissioned by the airports warned that, by this year, APD will have cost our economy up to £210million in lost tourism spend per annum. On 28 October 2014, the managers of Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Glasgow Airports joined forces to call for APD to be devolved to the Scottish Parliament. Subsequently,  the Smith Commission on Devolution recommended its transfer.

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  STRATHCONA HOUSE demolished

The Rowett Institute's historic Strathcona House (pictured) was demolished by Aberdeen City Council, to make way for the new TECA exhibition centre on the site in Bucksburn, a northern suburb of the city.

The decision, on 27 Oct. 2015, was taken despite strong opposition from the local community, evidenced by a 590 signature petition (totally ignored by the administration) and from Canada, where Lord Strathcona (1820-1914) is famous for the part he played in founding the Canadian Pacific Railway. 

Aberdeen City Council has consistently failed to listen to the public when taking decisions that have an impact on the survival of the city's architectural heritage. Historic Scotland had considered the building to possibly be of Category-C listing status. It was also a place held in high regard by people world-wide, due to its links with the academic field of nutrition, and the work conducted there on rationing during wartime. When it appeared clear that retention of the building in its current location would not be supported, the SNP Group moved an amendment which asked for a feasibility report on its possible relocation. This measure was not backed, and so another piece of the city's heritage was lost.

Local authorities are supposed to safeguard local heritage for future generations, but Aberdeen administrations have a lamentable record when it comes to preservation of the city's iconic and historical buildings.  Strathcona House was actually the latest in a long list of historically significant buildings that successive philistine Labour-controlled Councils decided to knock down or (in the case of the Wallace Tower) relocate.

►The Rowett Institute, founded in 1913 for research into nutrition and health, was on Greenburn Road. Strathcona House first opened in January 1933, to house its medical and science students. On 1 July 2008. the institute merged with the University of Aberdeen's College of Life Sciences & Medicine to become the Rowett Institute of Nutrition and Health.

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New link road at HAUDAGAIN junction                                                                                       

Following the completion of the Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route (AWPR), major improvements are now taking place at the busy A92/A96 Haudagain junction.

A new link road (pictured) -- by-passing the heavily congested roundabout -- will consist of a dual carriage-way running NW from the A92 (North Anderson Drive at its junction with Manor Avenue), to the A96 (Auchmill Road at its junction with Manor Drive). In addition, there will be branch connector roads to Manor Ave. and Logie Ave. 130 houses have been demolished to make way for the new road system.

For some months, the Labour-led Aberdeen City Council had attempted to justify its politically-motivated efforts to speed up improvements at the junction, despite the opinion of various experts that the AWPR bypass would have to be completed first.  At a full Council meeting, the administration voted to push for a two-year timescale for delivery, despite their officers telling them that it would take a minimum of three and a half years to rehouse Middlefield residents adequately. Senior Labour councillors refused to rule out evictions, and claimed that residents could be rehoused in newbuilds, despite there being no firm plans to build the necessary houses.  Despite having written to the residents in September 2013, advising them of the Council's wishes to press ahead with the works, Council leader Barney Crockett later accepted the Scottish Government’s timescale for carrying out the changes after the AWPR had been completed.

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WINNING FOR SCOTLAND!

The SNP won all three ABERDEEN constituencies in the Scottish General Election on 5 May 2016.

Election result:     ABERDEEN DONSIDE.  

Mark McDonald            SNP             17,339

Liam Kerr                      Con.              5,709

Greg Williams               Lab.              5,672

Isobel Davidson        Lib. Dem.         2,261

 

SNP HOLD.          Maj.  11,630         Turnout 50.6%