Aberdeen planning officers considered that the latest regeneration scheme for the Broadford Works, which has laid disused for 12 years, would "result in the sustainable re-use of a grouping of Scotland’s most important Category ‘A’ listed buildings, and thus preserve those buildings", a decision notice said.
The majority of the buildings on the site - the whole of which is listed Category ‘A’ - would be demolished under the plans.
The new proposals, which follow two previous applications for the site, would retain 13 buildings, including the ‘Grey Mill,’ which officers said is the oldest iron-framed building in Scotland and the fourth oldest in the world.
The redevelopment would provide 430 student bed spaces, 345 homes for private rent, 115 homes for sale and no affordable homes - in line with previous schemes for the site, which Scottish ministers were satisfied was necessary given the cost of restoring the buildings, some of which heritage watchdog Heritage Scotland said would need "the most focused conservation treatment", a pre-application report said.
The applicant, Ferness Investment Holdings Ltd, submitted the application after it acquired the site from the owner with the previous application, which included 517 flats, and retained two fewer buildings.
Under the new plans, Grey Mill would be turned into a studio workshop with live/work units and gallery space. The development would also shops, offices, restaurants, cafes and bars.
The permission in principle accepts the need for new buildings to cross-fund the restoration of the most important listed buildings, many of which have been vandalised and damaged by fire.
The approval was on the condition that detailed plans for the phasing that secure the restoration of the listed buildings "at the earliest opportunity," are submitted.
Design details that comply with policies on the quality of the urban environment, including those covering Aberdeen’s granite heritage, will also be required.