A HIGH-level panel has been launched in Aberdeen to provide a forum for North-east public and private sector leaders to discuss how best to deliver development in and around the city in a changing financial climate.
The panel has been developed by GSS Developments, the Aberdeen commercial property development and investment company, Aberdeen City Council and John Curran, a consultant at law firm, McGrigors, who will act as chair.
The aim of the group is to increase understanding and sharing of best practice between the public and private sectors, and to provide a unified voice in response to central and devolved government consultations on development matters.
Already the group has arranged private sector training for elected members on development viability, and it is currently considering a joint submission to Government on carbon reduction.
Delegates on the panel include the Head of Planning and Sustainable Development, the Enterprise, Planning and Infrastructure Committee Convenor and vice convenor from the city council, representatives of Aberdeen City and Shire Economic Future (ACSEF), RBS, Lloyds Banking Group and several senior planning lawyers, consultants, engineers and developers from businesses including Scotia, Stewart Milne Group, Bancon, CALA, and GSS.
John Curran, who recently relinquished full-time partnership duties to become a consultant at McGrigors, says the initiative is ‘crucial’ for delivering development in Aberdeen and beyond.
“We are living through a period of immense economic change and need to ensure that, as a city, Aberdeen is well placed to weather whatever storm may come, in terms of budget cuts and reduced infrastructure spending.
“One of the best means by which to do that is to ensure that the public and private sectors have a forum in which they can exchange views and find common ground in a constructive and collegiate manner.
“In the past I think it’s fair to say that something of an adversarial climate may have existed between the planning authorities and the private sector, but it is absolutely essential that we present a united front for the benefit of the city and the region in the coming months and years.
“What differentiates our group from others is that we are all about deliverability and we leave ‘the vision’ to others.”
Mr Curran said his new consultancy role at McGrigors allowed him greater flexibility to get involved in this type of project.
He added: “This is exactly the sort of activity which I would have found difficult to combine with a full-time role as a partner at McGrigors, but I’m delighted that my new consultancy role affords me greater flexibility to get involved in these types of projects.
|I hope that, through my 30-odd years experience of the law in this area, I can bring something to the party. By the same token it is very encouraging to see public and private sector leaders giving so freely of their time and effort for the good of the city.”
In addition to some of the activities already underway, future discussions within the forum are expected to centre on new ways of delivering infrastructure, planning gain and developers’ contributions.
Notes to editors
McGrigors is a leading law firm with offices in London, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Belfast, Aberdeen, Manchester and the Falkland Islands. With around 100 partners and a total of more than 700 staff across the UK and overseas, McGrigors is well placed to advise clients, including national and multinational organisations in the private and public sectors, on a wide variety of commercial issues. McGrigors is one of the UK’s top 50 legal firms, and was named National Law Firm of the Year 2010 by The Lawyer magazine.
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