NE Scotland, Orkney & Shetland

Traders concerned over Aberdeen Market shopping centre's future

Aberdeen Market
Image caption A planning application to demolish the building and replace it with new retail and leisure space is being considered by the council

Traders at a closure-threatened shopping centre in Aberdeen have said their businesses face uncertainty as they await a decision about its future.

The owners of Aberdeen Market in the city centre are seeking permission to demolish the building which dates back to the 1970s.

They want to build news shops, cafes and office space.

But there are concerns that this could force independent retailers to move elsewhere, or stop trading completely.

Image copyright Patrizia
Image caption The developers say a new building would regenerate the area and bring more businesses back in to that part of the city centre

In February, developers Patrizia, submitted plans to Aberdeen City Council to tear down the existing building and replace it with a new space for leisure and retail outlets.

They said the aim was to regenerate the east end of Union Street "creating a vibrant destination within the city centre".

However, those currently trading in the market building are concerned about the impact on their livelihoods.

Image caption Aberdeen Market was once the only shopping centre in the city

Colin Cameron, whose family has run a repair shop there for more than 40 years, said: "It is a worry. There have been people coming in over the last month or so who are a bit uncertain about whether we are still here and whether the market is still open."

He said "a bit more transparency" about the plans from the council and developers "would be nice".

Image caption Colin Cameron, who runs a shoe repair and key-cutting businesses, said traders were worried about the plans

He added: "The market used to a real hub of activity and in general we've always been sort of busy.

"There is a bit of decline at the minute, but I think that is in retail in general."

For other businesses, trying to invest in improving the market, the plans to demolish the building have been "frustrating and distressing".

Katarina Kardosova works in the restaurant, Combo, which underwent a £35,000- refurbishment, shortly before the planning application was submitted.

"If we had known before, we would never have invested that amount of money," she said.

"It would be hard to move out of here as the high street is not affordable for normal people and family-run businesses like us."

Image caption The market building currently houses shops and restaurants

The developers said they carried out an "extensive consultation" involving local businesses and residents, as well as the wider community, with feedback "incorporated into the final designs".

A spokeswoman for Patrizia added: "A public exhibition was held in November when members of the public were able to view the plans and discuss them with representatives from the developers, the planners and the architects.

"The feedback has been overwhelmingly positive."

Aberdeen City Council said it could not comment on a live planning application but added that "discussions are still ongoing with the developer".

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