'Economic tensions ahead' for Aberdeen

EFFORTS to secure the future prosperity of the North-east of Scotland will inevitably lead to tensions such as the furore over Aberdeen's controversial civic square plan, the head of the local economic forum has admitted.

But Tom Smith, the chairman of Aberdeen City and Shire Economic Future (ACSEF), also warned that failure to plan for growth and diversification away from North Sea oil could send the area into a downward spiral of job losses.

His warning came after the public and private sector partnership, which is unique in Scotland, published its annual report, outlining ACSEF's strategic objectives for the next 18 months.

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According to the report, ACSEF is on track to deliver its aims of growing the economy and enhancing the region's quality of life with the foundations in place to facilitate around 1.5 billion investment in the next 20 years.

The forum's flagship schemes include the City Square development at Aberdeen's Union Terrace Gardens.

Mr Smith said: "For the first time, we have a joined-up approach to the factors that will shape the future of our region.

"Our economic development strategy is fully aligned with the plans relating to infrastructure planning and transport."