Go-ahead granted for state-of-the-art aquatics centre

The creation of a state-of-the art aquatics centre in Aberdeen has taken a major step forward with plans for the building given the go-ahead today (Thursday October 28) by Aberdeen City Council.

Full planning permission was granted by the Development Management Sub Committee for the centre, which will be on the site of the former Linksfield Academy and is the next stage of development at Aberdeen Sports Village (ASV).

The aquatics centre – a joint venture between the University of Aberdeen, Aberdeen City Council and sportscotland, will include:

·      The only 50m pool north of Stirling, with a dividing boom and part floating floor

·      A 25m x 16.5 m Diving Pool with the latest technology in water cushioning systems

·      Adjustable floor in the diving pool to enable a range of uses from competition to swimming lessons

·      Spectator seating for 600

·      Full Timing/Video Analysis lab along with a land conditioning area

·      Health Suite

·      Bridge connection to Aberdeen Sports Village

It will provide long lane training opportunities for elite swimmers who currently have no facilities north of Stirling and provide a community facility that will encourage participation in water-based activities at all ages and abilities.

The scheme had been recommended for approval with the report which went before councillors stating that the centre “represents a welcome investment for appropriate community / public use in an area recognised as a priority regeneration area.”

It was backed unanimously by committee members and their decision has been welcomed by Nick Dalgarno, chairman of the ASV sub-committee set up by the Board to focus on the pool project and ensure that it is delivered to the same standard as the rest of the sports village.

He said: “The decision of the Development Management Sub Committee to grant full planning permission for the aquatics centre is a very important development which will provide the impetus for us to drive the scheme forward.

“It will enable us to move forward with the tender process and establish market costings for the building.

“The role of the working group is to drive construction and to ensure that the centre meets not only the needs of elite athletes but the wider community to encourage greater participation in water-based activities.

“We are delighted that councillors voted unanimously in favour of the application as this is a further step forward in the overall project.”

Planning permission is for a building which could house a 10 lane, 50metre pool, as well as diving facilities.  Aberdeen City Council, the University of Aberdeen and sportscotland have committed £20m to the project and the ASV pool committee is working with the University of Aberdeen’s experienced fund-raising team to secure additional funding.  Last week it was announced that a supporter of the sports village has pledged £1millon to meet the additional cost of two extra lanes if this option is agreed.

A final decision will be made by the project board in June 2011 on receipt of the contractors’ tenders in spring 2011. A twin-track approach, with both an eight and 10 lane pool, has been taken to the tender stage to allow the options to be costed.

It is anticipated that on site construction works will begin in late 2011 to enable the Centre to open to the public in early 2014.

David Beattie, General Manager of Aberdeen Sports Village, said: "We are delighted that planning permission has been granted for a state-of-the-art aquatics centre for Aberdeen.

"This is an essential step in creating a sporting village which will develop future generations of talent in the north-east of Scotland and help foster a more healthy and active local community."