AN ABERDEEN publican has been given the go-ahead by councillors to bring back a summer marquee.
No 10’s Botanic Garden will soon operate again from Queen’s Terrace Gardens after almost two years of bosses fighting to bring it back.
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McGinty’s Group previously struck a deal with the council to use the public green space when Covid placed tough restrictions on food-and-drink venues.
The firm wanted to return the marquee to boost business over the summer due to not having a garden space of its own.
Hopes to bring it back last year were dashed after councillors rejected the plans, but bosses decided to apply again this year with a scaled-back vision.
Despite 249 local people supporting the plans, it was recommended for refusal again due to concerns for the surrounding trees and loss of green space.
Mr Henderson arrived at the Town House to plead with councillors to support the plans.
He was left elated, and relieved, by the decision to approve his plans and overrule the planning recommendation.
He told the Press & Journal: “Obviously I am delighted and I think, at the end of the day, common sense has prevailed.
“What was great was the fact that councillors listened, and it was a unanimous vote against the planner’s recommendation.”
The hospitality chief now says the problem is being able to install the al-fresco facility in time for customers to soak in the summer months.
He will need to apply for a building warrant before getting the marquee in place, but he hopes they will manage to get their summer pop-up running in place as soon as possible.
Russell Borthwick, chief executive of Aberdeen & Grampian Chamber of Commerce, welcomed the decision taken by councillors, but questioned why the plans ever faced refusal.
He said: “Despite strong public support outweighing objections and a recognition that the plan would increase footfall in the area, it was still put forward for refusal by planning officers on the grounds that the loss of public space would cause ‘significant public harm’. Really?
“And that very much feels like the default position of planning officers. ‘No, (unless) rather than ‘Yes, (how)’.
“Planners are our city gatekeepers, often the first point of contact for developers, investors and their agents. They need to be more open-minded and aware of the economic necessity for projects to proceed if we are to attract people to our city centre to live, spend leisure time and work. We need a properly collegiate rather than a confrontational approach to strategic planning.
“As has happened successfully in other cities, the Chamber would like to see a dedicated, fast-track city centre planning and building control team set up to work with businesses and investors to find ways to make things happen, not stop them based on some technicality. Over to the Chief Executive and her team.”