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  • Writer's pictureThe Gaudie

Key Victory for St Fittick’s Park Campaigners

Petition to Save Torry's Only Community Park Will Be Heard

By Josh Pizzuto-Pomaco

Local residents have fought for years to preserve the park in its entirety

Torry residents fighting to save a beloved community park from bulldozing have won a key victory at the Court of Session in Edinburgh.

Yesterday, Lord Failey of the Court permitted a judicial review against Aberdeen City Council to proceed to a ‘substantive hearing.’

Up to one-third of St Fittick’s Park, Torry’s only freely accessible green space, is slated to be paved over as part of an ‘Energy Transition Zone.’ 

Community members and environmental activists have waged a years-long battle to keep the green-space intact, ever since Aberdeen City Council voted to remove environmental protections from the site in March 2020.

Legal action was pursued against the local authority late last year over accusations they had breached the Equality Act by allowing the site to be redeveloped; and concerns that some councillors had a personal interest in the decision. 

The community of Torry, where the average life expectancy is thirteen years lower than Aberdeen’s wealthiest neighbourhoods, has long been used as a base for industrial expansion, beginning with the North Sea oil boom in the 1970s.

In a statement, local campaigners with the Friends of St Fittick’s Park noted that the decision ‘vindicates’ their concerns over the rezoning of the site.

Campaigners also said that ‘democratic processes’ had been bypassed by the firm behind the development scheme, Opportunity Northeast, which was founded by local oil and gas tycoon Ian Wood. 

Torry resident and campaigner Scott Herrett commented: “When I first joined the campaign

there were only a handful of members, but now we have hundreds of supporters in

Aberdeen and throughout Scotland and the UK, as well as internationally. 

“We are still far from our aim of protecting the park in its entirety, but today’s announcement means we have successfully thrown a huge spanner in the works of these reckless plans for our park.

“It’s also a validation of the campaign and shows the power of what a small number of

people can collectively achieve, even if up against billionaire interests and a planning system

that appears to favour the interests of rich developers over the needs of people in

communities like Torry.”

Campaigner Jean Boucher added: “The Friends of Saint Fittick’s Park are happy that the

court will look into the case over the park. We think it's important for the city council to take

care of the park and the residents of Torry. We need our natural spaces to stay healthy, so we will keep fighting to protect the park. 

“It's a small part of a bigger fight to protect the Earth as our global environment also faces challenges.”

Reacting to the news on Twitter, Green MSP for North East Scotland Maggie Chapman hailed the efforts of the campaigners, tweeting:

“This is a huge win for campaigners and another step closer to protecting St Fittick's Park from development. 

“We wouldn't have [gotten] here without the people of Torry, Govan Law Centre, and so many others.”

Environmental lobby group Friends of the Earth Scotland has also weighed in:

“A big win yesterday for the campaign to save St Fittick's Park. It's not over yet, but the industrialisation plans are delayed."


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