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Aberdeen successful in bid to host Scottish Parliament in May 2002

Aberdeen has pulled off a major coup after being chosen to host the Scottish Parliament next May when the Church of Scotland return to the Mound for their annual General Assembly.

A joint bid by the City Council and Aberdeen University has beaten those from other areas to become the first place outside of the Central Belt to stage Parliamentary business for a week.

City Council Leader Len Ironside said: “This is a massive vote of confidence in Aberdeen by the Scottish Parliament.  It not only demonstrates that Aberdeen has the facilities to stage such a prestigious event but it restores my faith about devolution.”

Councillor Ironside paid tribute to Aberdeen University for offering their facilities to hold Parliamentary business - as the City Council’s own chamber is too small to accommodate all MSPs and officials.

Principal C Duncan Rice, University of Aberdeen, said that he was delighted that Aberdeen’s bid had been successful.

“The new Parliament holds the promise of a new political landscape for Scotland.  The Parliament has committed itself to having a presence in every region of the country.

“I am honoured that the Scottish Parliament has agreed to come to the University of Aberdeen, one of Scotland’s great ancient universities, with an international profile.

“We worked closely with Aberdeen City Council in preparing the joint proposal and are extremely pleased that this prestigious event will take place in Aberdeen next year.”

Councillor Ironside said: “We worked together in partnership to pull off this feat and there is a buzz of excitement that it is happening.  I praise the efforts of the university to ensure the bid was successful.”

He added that it had also been indicated that during the Scottish Parliament’s visit some Aberdeen and North-east Scotland issues would be debated.  “This is another bonus to be welcomed,” he said.

The joint Council/University bid identified King’s College Conference Centre as the meeting point for Parliament.  The Conference and Visitor Centre opened its doors in 1991 and in its first year attracted a number of awards including a Certificate of Distinction in the ‘Come to Britain’ awards from Scottish Enterprise.  There has also been a high commendation in the category “Old Building Converted for New Use or Re-Use”.

The auditorium holds 150 delegates. Individual stations are fitted with microphone, radio microphone and inductive loop system for those who have difficulty in hearing.

The gallery can provide seating for 60 members of the public with short term viewing of the proceedings.  As it also extends behind the main platform it provides excellent vantage points for TV cameras and additional lighting as required.

Access for broadcasting vehicles can be gained to the back of the auditorium with cable entry points to the chamber.

The joint bid also guarantees that ancillary facilities will be provided for members and staff.

Councillor Ironside said that the decision to bring the Scottish Parliament to Aberdeen was yet another boost in promoting the city.  “We have just completed Offshore Europe, which was one of the most successful exhibitions for many years.  Delegates from throughout the world were full of praise for Aberdeen.

“This is yet another opportunity to showcase Aberdeen and the North-east.”


Further Information:
Angela Begg, Media Relations Officer, University of Aberdeen, Tel. (01224) 272960

Ref:  886parliament.doc
Date: September 11, 2001

Aberdeen recommended to host Parliament in May 2002

The Scottish Parliament is set to meet in Aberdeen in May 2002 when the Church of Scotland return to the Mound for their annual General Assembly.

The Parliamentary Bureau has recommended that the Parliament should meet in the King’s College Conference Centre during the week commencing Monday, May 27.

Announcing the recommended venue, Presiding Officer Sir David Steel, who chairs the Bureau, said: "One of the Parliament’s key guiding principles is the need for accessibility, and this does not just mean providing public facilities in Edinburgh or the central belt.

“This is a Parliament for the whole of Scotland, and I hope that we have demonstrated our commitment with committee meetings throughout the country, including Galashiels, Dumfries, Stornoway and Inverness.

"The fact that our agreement with the Church of Scotland meant we would be required to vacate the Assembly Hall again next May as we did in 2000 provides the ideal opportunity to meet outside Edinburgh.

"Our time in Glasgow in May 2000 was very successful, and showed what is possible when the Parliament works in close co-operation with a local authority.  On this occasion, the Bureau felt we should go outside the central belt.  I am sure Aberdeen, if approved by the Parliament, will prove equally popular and we are grateful to Aberdeen City Council and the University of Aberdeen for the work they have already done preparing a bid and co-operating fully with our officials.”

Background Notes
The Parliamentary Bureau has submitted a motion to Parliament recommending that the Parliament should meet in Aberdeen in the week commencing 27 May 2002.  It is for MSPs to decide whether to approve this motion tomorrow.

The Bureau has decided to recommend that, though the Assembly Hall Chamber is likely to be unavailable for three weeks during the Church of Scotland’s General Assembly, the temporary venue should be used for only one week. The Parliament is likely to meet for three full days, giving committees the opportunity to meet frequently in the other two weeks that we are out of the Assembly Hall.

In considering the options for 2002, a specification of requirements was compiled and based on the facilities and services provided in Glasgow.  Included was the need for a Chamber able to seat all MSPs and support staff, suitable public viewing space and media seating.  Venues had to be secure, and office accommodation for MSPs, staff and the media was also required.

This specification was issued to a number of interested local authorities in April, and firm bids were received in relation to Aberdeen, Dumfries, Dundee, Dunfermline and Glasgow.


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