Plans for new AECC approved
Councillors have approved plans for a new multi-million pound exhibition and conference centre in Aberdeen.
Aberdeen City Council’s Planning Development Management Committee backed proposals for the new AECC – to include an energy plant and a 200-bedroom hotel – on the site of the Rowett Institute at Bucksburn, close to Aberdeen International Airport.
The £333m complex – which is due to open in late 2018 – will provide four times the current exhibition space and increase the seating capacity from 4,750 to 10,000.
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The centre is expected to bring an additional 31,000 business travellers to Scotland and lead to an additional £11m of visitor spend a year.
A separate application for planning permission in principle for around 498 homes, commercial space, a recycling centre and a park-and-ride site on the current Aberdeen Exhibition and Conference Centre site at Bridge of Don was also approved.
Aberdeen City Council's convener of planning development management, Councillor Ramsay Milne, said: "The new Aberdeen Exhibition and Conference Centre will be a state-of-the-art facility that will help to ensure Aberdeen competes with other major cities, not just within Scotland and the UK, but internationally with other global energy capitals.
"The addition of the energy centre with the anaerobic digestion plant provides an innovative element to the project. It will provide power but also, along with the hotel, provide an income stream that will help to cover the cost of the development."
The energy centre will provide enough electricity, heating and cooling for the entire site, while the anaerobic digestion plant will generate an income by feeding bio-methane into the gas grid.
A range of income streams have been identified to reduce the need for public funding for the new centre, including the hotel, car park and energy centre, which together are expected to reduce the cost of the complex to around £100,000 per year over the life of the 35-year lease.
The annual subsidy paid for the existing AECC at Bridge of Don will not be needed for the new AECC, saving the council £1.3m a year.
At the end of the lease agreement, the council will be entitled to purchase the new AECC development, including the land, for just £1.