• STV
  • MySTV

Aberdeen’s divisive £140m City Garden Project rejected by councillors

Business case for Union Terrace Gardens redevelopment is rejected by councillors.

An aerial view of the proposed City Garden Project.

Aberdeen councillors have voted against controversial plans to transform a city centre park.

The business case for the £140m City Garden Project was rejected at a full council meeting on Wednesday.

Councillors voted 22-20 against the project instead supporting a proposal from the Independent Alliance Group, led by councillor Marie Boulton, to use the money to regenerate Union Street, the Arts Centre, the Music Hall, the Lemon Tree and the Mither Kirk.

However the council will now have to consult with Scottish Futures Trust on whether they will accept a Tax increment financing (TIF) bid based on not proceeding with the City Gardens Project.

Afterwards, SNP group leader Callum McCaig said: "I’m hugely disappointed with the outcome of the vote. I think it’s a really damaging blow to the credibility of the council by ignoring a democratic referendum. It is an even bigger blow to our economic prospects.

"The alternative put forward by Councillor Boulton is pie in the sky. It is described as sprucing up the city but what Aberdeen needs is something credible, achievable and affordable. What has been put forward is fantasy."

Councillor Boulton said: “I don’t want to shut the door on the business community, particularly Sir Ian Wood who I think has been trying to champion Aberdeen. Just because it was not what we wanted doesn’t mean we don’t want him to work with us.

“I have tried to respect the people who did vote in the referendum by looking for a compromise. This project could have gone ahead but there would have been a very bad feeling towards it.”

'Flawed'

Chairman of Friends of Union Terrace Gardens Mike Shepherd said the council had made the “correct decision”.

He added: “The case was flawed, it was missing £35m in promised private investment and no final costs were given.

“This is the end of the City Garden Project debacle. There is one lesson to be learned from all of this and it’s this. We live in a pluralistic society whereby democracy is a balance between the combating interests in our society. We live in a civilisation which optimally works by compromise and unity.

“The fatal flaw of the City Garden Project was that nothing was done to build consensus.”

Businessman Sir Ian Wood had committed £50m towards the scheme to redevelop Union Terrace Gardens, while an anonymous £5m pledge had also been made.

A group of seven north-east businessman, including Stewart Milne and Aberdeen Asset Management chief executive Martin Gilbert, had vowed to raise another £15m towards the project.

The remaining cost was to be covered by a £92m TIF loan from the Scottish Futures Trust.

The money would also have been used to fund the redevelopment of St Nicholas House, Aberdeen Art Gallery and the North Denburn Valley as well as creating the City Circle pedestrian route project.

The business report said the TIF business case had the potential to unlock 6560 full-time jobs and an average of £115.1m per annum of economic growth over 25 years.

More than 85,000 people voted in a public referendum on the contentious project in March with 52% voting in favour of the project.

However the project faced an uncertain future when Labour, who had campaigned against the proposal, won the most seats at the council elections in May.

One account. All of STV.

This field is required. That doesn't look like a valid e-mail format, please check. That e-mail's already in our system. Please try again.
ShowHide
Forgot password?
This field is required. This must be at least 6 characters long. Did you enter your details correctly?
If you've forgotten your details then use the 'Forgot password?' link.
Need to reset your password?

We'll send a link to reset your password to

We've sent you details on how to reset your password

Please check your email and follow the instructions.

Forgotten your email address?

Have you forgotten the email address that you previously joined with? Don't worry, by emailing enquiries@stv.tv we can help.

One account. All of STV.

This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
This must be at least 6 characters long.
ShowHide
This field is required. This must be at least 6 characters long.
You must be over 16 to join STV.
This field is required. This doesn't appear to be a valid date
We need this to check that you live in an STV region.
This field is required. This doesn't appear to be a valid postcode
Would you like us to email you about our great shows and services from time to time?
We'll only send emails we think you'll like (see example) based on information you have supplied and shows you have watched on STV Player. For details on emails and advertising, see our STV & You page.
Would you like to receive emails from the Scottish Children's Lottery about draws, instant games and competitions?
We support the Scottish Children's Lottery (SCL), which is managed by our colleagues at STV ELM Ltd. You can find out more about the SCL on its website, including its Privacy Policy.

By continuing you agree to our Terms of Use, and understand our Privacy and Cookie Policies.

Upload Profile Picture

Please make sure your image is under 2mb in size and a valid JPG, PNG or GIF.

Are you sure?

Unfortunately, you'll be unable to access our premium content. We’ll be sorry to see you go, but if you change your mind you can rejoin us at any time.

Please verify your STV account

Please verify your STV account using the email we sent you. If you have lost the email, we can send you another one, just click the button below.

Thanks

We've sent you a new verification email.
Please check your email and follow the instructions to verify your account.

Welcome to STV
Thanks for joining us.

Oops!

Sorry, you must be at least 12 years old to place a vote for your Real Hero.

Please review our Voting Terms of Use for more information.

Oops!

Sorry! It seems that you are using a browser that is incompatible with our voting service.

To register your vote please copy the below URL in to your regular mobile browser. We recommend Google Chrome, or Safari.

http://shows.stv.tv/real-heroes/voting

Oops!

Sorry, you seem to have already voted in this category.

Thanks for voting

Now share your vote with friends on your social network

Share on twitter Share on facebook

Cast your vote

Please register or sign in to continue.

Cast your vote

This field is required. This doesn't appear to be a valid date

Cast your vote

Please fill out this form to cast your vote. As you are under 16 years old you will not create an STV account. Why do we need these details?

This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
This field is required. That doesn't look like a valid e-mail format, please check.
Location This field is required.
Parental Consent This field is required.

That's you. All that's left is to click the 'Submit Vote' button below. By doing so, you confirm that you and your parent or guardian have read and accept our Voting Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Cookie policy, and that the details you have entered are correct. We'll look after them as carefully as if they were our own.