Page last updated at 16:00 GMT, Monday, 4 January 2010

Gardens plan for new heart of Aberdeen

Image of gardens concept
A new image of the concept of what the gardens could look like has been released

Plans for a new heart of Aberdeen should feature a major garden space, it has been announced.

A public consultation on the City Square project for Union Terrace Gardens is to be launched this month.

Millionaire businessman Sir Ian Wood has pledged £50m of his own money towards the scheme.

Aberdeen City and Shire Economic Future (Acsef) said it intends to incorporate "internationally renowned and potentially award-winning gardens".

Acsef said the gardens should make up at least half of the five-acre space.

'Extra special'

Chairman Tom Smith said: "The current gardens are about two-and-a-half acres.

"Our ambition is to have the same, if not more, green space than at present but green space which is more accessible and more visible.

"We will be researching gardens and international garden designers around the world and may even launch an international design competition to see how we could deliver something extra special and unique within the City Square project."

It could cost between £110m and £140m to construct the raised gardens and full covering over the Denburn dual carriageway.

'Informed debate'

The public consultation begins on Monday 11 January.

Plans for a new Peacock Visual Arts Contemporary Arts Centre in the same area are said to have been put in jeopardy by the scheme.

A Peacock spokesperson said: "We believe that as public money is being used to fund the consultation that the citizens of Aberdeen have the right to have an informed debate on the full range of options."

Aberdeen City Council, Scottish Enterprise and the Scottish Arts Council had already backed the Peacock plans.

A City Square website has already been launched at www.thecitysquareproject.com

Sir Ian is chairman of the multi-million pound energy services firm, John Wood Group.



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