Aberdeen gardens revamp to be put to March 1 referendum

A referendum on whether a controversial city centre redevelopment project should proceed is to be held on 1 March next year, Aberdeen City Council has confirmed.

Union Terrace Gardens (© Stuart Caie)
Union Terrace Gardens (© Stuart Caie)
The referendum will decide the fate of the City Garden project, which would see the level of the Victorian sunken Union Terrace Gardens raised to allow the construction of a new square, as well as a cultural venue.

Plans for the project were unveiled last year and proved highly contentious among Aberdeen residents, with a consultation showing that 55 per cent of locals opposed the plans.

A referendum on whether the City Garden project should proceed will now take place on 1st March next year, according to the council.

Whether Aberdeen residents vote in favour or against the project, it will still have to go before the council’s planning committee before it could gain formal planning permission.

However, a council spokesman said that, while it is down to individual members of the planning committee how they vote, the expectation is that the committee would respect the result of the referendum.

He added that if the vote goes against the project, it was highly unlikely to be put before the planning committee.

Local businessman Sir Ian Wood has pledged £50 million towards the construction of the City Garden project.

However, the council spokesman said that Wood has told the council that if the referendum produces a ‘no’ vote he will respect the will of the people and withdraw the funding, leaving a funding gap in the anticipated £140 million cost of the project.

If residents choose to proceed with the project, the council says that it expects construction to be completed by 2016.

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