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Aberdeen City Gardens loses out in knife-edge vote

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August 22 2012

Aberdeen City Gardens loses out in knife-edge vote
Plans to undertake an ambitious remodelling of Aberdeen’s Union Terrace Gardens, valued at £140m, have been thrown out by councillors by 22 votes to 20.

The vote saw Aberdeen’s political spectrum cleave down the middle with SNP and Conservative councillors backing the plans, whilst their Labour and Lib Dem colleagues vetoed it.

Mike Shepherd, chairman of Friends of Union Terrace Gardens, said: "There is no doubt that our councillors made the correct decision. This is the end of the City Garden Project debacle.

"Union Terrace Gardens is at the heart of our city. Let's nurture them with the care and attention they deserve. We can restore them to a place of pride and glory. Let's go ahead and do it."


Gardens Timeline

Jun 2008 Peacock Visual Arts reveal culture centre plans
Nov 2008 Wood pledges £50m toward alternative plan
Apr 2010 Defeated by 55% in a public consultation
May 2010 Approved 20-7 by councillors
Jan 2012 Diller Scofidio & Renfro and Keppie win design competition
Mar 2012 Approved in referendum by 45,301 votes to 41,175
Aug 2012 Rejected 22-20 by councillors

19 Comments

Frank Lloyd Wrong
#1 Posted by Frank Lloyd Wrong on 22 Aug 2012 at 23:28 PM
Disgrace. Aberdeen City Council, Labour and the Lib Dems are a backward thinking embarrassment.
Shame on you! Roll on 2014.
Boy
#2 Posted by Boy on 22 Aug 2012 at 23:51 PM
AWPR, 3rd Don Crossing, Trump, UTG ... what next for the North East to drag-out, kick-about and make a complete ar*e of?
John R
#3 Posted by John R on 23 Aug 2012 at 07:37 AM
Everyone with ambition for Union Terrace Gardens has lost out here. The Peacock Visual Arts and their architects as much as the promoters of this project and Sir Ian.
Jo Jo
#4 Posted by Jo Jo on 23 Aug 2012 at 07:56 AM
Can the Peacock VA be brought back?
John R
#5 Posted by John R on 23 Aug 2012 at 08:23 AM
It should be. It was architecurally ambitious, had a genuine core client, did not destroy the Victorian gardens, had planning permission and funds and would not bankrupt the city.
Egbert
#6 Posted by Egbert on 23 Aug 2012 at 09:22 AM
Hurrah. Glad to see common sense has prevailed - now let's get the Peacock scheme built and enjoy the gardens for the unique and special place they already are.
Neil
#7 Posted by Neil on 23 Aug 2012 at 09:24 AM
Given that Sir Ian Wood promised to walk away if his plans were rejected by the public the first time around, can we expect him to pop up again next month with a new and suspiciously similar looking proposal?
Neil
#8 Posted by Neil on 23 Aug 2012 at 09:26 AM
True, it was a good scheme but too late I think. Things have moved on?
John R
#9 Posted by John R on 23 Aug 2012 at 10:07 AM
#8 I hope not. Peacock Visual Arts still need the project and the city needs something positive to happen here now.
Jimbob Tanktop
#10 Posted by Jimbob Tanktop on 23 Aug 2012 at 10:25 AM
Debating the merits of the scheme now is, I think, missing the bigger point. The people voted for it, and for some reason, presumably because the collection of no-mark cooncillors know better, they're not getting it.

That whole democracy thing continues to prove awkward for Labour and the LibDems.
John R
#11 Posted by John R on 23 Aug 2012 at 11:03 AM
No, restore the Peacock Visual Arts project now Whatever the merits of the granite web the bigger point now is that it has been rejected and some credibility needs to be restored to Aberdeen after a four year wrangle. This has nothing to do with democracy, there were good and bad arguements on both sides.
R K
#12 Posted by R K on 23 Aug 2012 at 11:57 AM
Have the design team been paid for the work done to date? It looked like a lot of work!
Nik
#13 Posted by Nik on 23 Aug 2012 at 12:15 PM
#11 - Very true, there were merits to keeping the gardens and developing them. The fact that the council rejected it after a democratic vote leaves a sour taste though. I can imagine Labour have done lasting damage to themselves with this.

What's most important now is that the Independents & Labour carry out their promise of improving the gardens. There is no disabled access to them and few events to draw people in. If they apply for TIF funding it has to be utilised in order to improve Union Street and the surrounding area. That will naturally draw more people to them.
Fitz Hat
#14 Posted by Fitz Hat on 24 Aug 2012 at 11:59 AM
The scheme should have been knocked back at a far earlier stage. Aberdeen City Council simply can't afford it. As long as the council continues to only receive 85% of the Scottish average, it will be the Cinderella city. Its industry and citizens will carry on funding the lavish plans of other cities, while receiving no help to combat its own decline. Shameful.
Nik
#15 Posted by Nik on 24 Aug 2012 at 13:01 PM
#14 - You're correct Fitz Hat, the amount of money Aberdeen city and shire receive is a scandal, however that will never change, money will continue to be spent everywhere but the North East. With regards to the City Council not affording it, they're now looking in to the possibility of borrowing £92 million in TIF funding for other projects.

So apparently they couldn't afford to borrow £92 million for the gardens when Ian Wood was offering £50 million, a private benefactor had offered £5 million and local businessmen had pledged to find £15 million, however now they're going it alone they apparently can afford to borrow £92 million.

Beggars belief.
h.a.
#16 Posted by h.a. on 27 Aug 2012 at 11:04 AM
shouldn´t decisions of this importance be taken BEFORE hundreds of practices invest their time and resources?
DiamondDon
#17 Posted by DiamondDon on 27 Aug 2012 at 11:59 AM
Typical ACC shambles. Barney Crockett refuses to resign stating he was democratically elected by the public vore, then shafts the democratic public vote on a political ego-booster.

Continuing with the TIF finding for other schemes is ludicrous, as that was the main reason for voting the CGP out.

No doubt in my mind it will be spent on making life even easier for non-tax payers. A worthwhile cause if ever there was one...

Aberdeen City is thereby closed for business.
Aberdonian M
#18 Posted by Aberdonian M on 4 Sep 2012 at 11:38 AM
The business case had a funding gap of £20m for the art gallery and being entirely uncosted, in all likelihood the CGP would have gone over the planned £140m budget.

Much like Marischal College, which was ORIGINALLY budgetted at under £40m. Doubling the budget then calling it 'underbudget' at £60m is bogus.

A TIF loan for a more measurable, better costed plan could be achieved with a united political will - of the 6 pilots 1 is dead, another in doubt.

If you want to see change in Aberdeen (as the funding from Govt ain't changing soon), you need to push ALL councillors to stop playing politics, to grow up and to back a broad TIF plan.
Aberdonian M
#19 Posted by Aberdonian M on 4 Sep 2012 at 11:39 AM
Underwriting all the risks of developing a new park to hand over to private management isn't open for business, it's open for being taken for a ride.

The business case had a funding gap of £20m for the art gallery and being entirely uncosted, in all likelihood the CGP would have gone over the planned £140m budget.

Much like Marischal College, which was ORIGINALLY budgetted at under £40m. Doubling the budget then calling it 'underbudget' at £60m is bogus.

A TIF loan for a more measurable, better costed plan could be achieved with a united political will - of the 6 pilots 1 is dead, another in doubt.

If you want to see change in Aberdeen (as the funding from Govt ain't changing soon), you need to push ALL councillors to stop playing politics, to grow up and to back a broad TIF plan.

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