Union Terrace Gardens: Separate moves to get project back on agenda
A NEW grassroots campaign has been formed in Aberdeen to drive the controversial redevelopment of Union Terrace Gardens back to the top of the city’s political agenda.
• Campaign to get City Garden Project back on agenda
• Tory MSP calls for agreement between politicians
Transform Aberdeen has been established by a 30 strong group of citizens who claim that the city council’s decision to abandon £140 million plans to create a new civic square above the sunken Victorian gardens is one that “future generations of Aberdonians will find it hard to forgive.”
And, in a separate development, Nanette Milne, a leading North east Conservative MSP, has called on local SNP and Labour politicians to bury the hatchet and seek a way forward for the Union Terrace Gardens project at a summit meeting, jointly hosted by First Minister Alex Salmond and Lord Provost George Adam.
Ms Milne said: “Like the majority of people in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire I support the proposal to redevelop Union Terrace. Sadly too much politics has come into the issue with the local elections last May acting as a catalyst for both Labour and SNP to lock horns.
“It is time both Labour and SNP politicians stopped the childish recriminations and worked together to take forward the city. The issue is too important for the future of Aberdeen for petty political point scoring to prevail.”
She added: “I have written to the First Minister Alex Salmond Lord Provost George Adam to suggest they jointly host an Aberdeen summit between all parties and none to seek to take forward a new proposal for regeneration of Aberdeen city centre and to try to seek a way forward for the Union Terrace Gardens project to proceed. It’s time politician from all parties put Aberdeen first.”
John Bruce, the chairman of the new pressure group, Transform Aberdeen, declared: “Future generations of Aberdonians will find it hard to forgive this generation for failing the city by our collective lack of ambition and vision.Transform Aberdeen has been born out of the frustration at the lack of progress in addressing the serious deficiencies in our urban landscape. Transform Aberdeen will be campaigning to get the City Garden Project and wider city centre regeneration scheme it unlocks back on the agenda.”
The Aberdeen City Garden Trust (ACGT), the body which spearheaded the proposed transformation of Union Terrace Gardens, backed the call for a summit meeting on the future of Aberdeen city centre.
Tom Smith, chairman of ACGT, said: “The directors of ACGT and all those involved welcome this initiative and are ready and willing to play their part in the regeneration of our city centre. Transforming our city centre to ensure an exciting and sustainable future should never have been a political issue.
“The majority of the public who voted in the referendum don’t want the project swept under the carpet. Those who voted to reject it must now realise it is not going to disappear and ACGT would be very happy to have an inclusive, non-political, non-recriminatory, sensible discussion on the transformation of our city centre”
He added: “The public who voted for the City Garden voted for transformational change and the wider city centre regeneration the project unlocked through its TIF business case. It is becoming increasingly obvious, there is no fundable or deliverable alternative to this.”
Councillor Willie Young, the council’s finance convener, said there was no prospect whatsoever of the Union Terrace Gardens plans being revived.
He declared: “From our point of view it’s dead. It is not being discussed with our Conservative and Independence Alliance colleagues in the coalition administration and there is absolutely no chance of revisiting the scheme.
“It is not part of the agenda. We gave everybody a free vote and we all agreed that whoever won we would abide by that decision. It’s a dead issue.”
Search for a job
Search for a car
Search for a house
Weather for Edinburgh
Saturday 25 May 2013
Temperature: 6 C to 17 C
Wind Speed: 13 mph
Wind direction: West
Temperature: 9 C to 16 C
Wind Speed: 14 mph
Wind direction: South west