Page last updated at 12:30 GMT, Saturday, 6 March 2010

Aberdeen City Square consultation closes

Image of Union Terrace Gardens plan
The ambitious plan is to raise the centre of Aberdeen

The consultation on plans to create a civic square in the heart of Aberdeen has closed.

Proposals for the £140m development called City Square, at Union Terrace Gardens, have a promise of £50m in funding from businessman Sir Ian Wood.

Arts organisation Peacock has plans for a £13m centre in the same area.

Aberdeen City and Shire Economic Future (Acsef) had urged anyone wanting to take part in the two-month consultation to act before the deadline.

Sir Ian and Acsef said they were concerned the opportunity could be lost if there was not enough public support. The plans have divided opinion.

Sir Ian said: "I remain convinced that this transformational project is fundamental to the future of our region."

If people don't want this transformational change, I will accept that with the consolation of being £50m better off
Sir Ian Wood

He added: "Union Terrace Gardens hold fond memories for many Aberdonians.

"By raising them into the sunlight they can be better and brighter and more visible and accessible for everyone to enjoy.

"The view that Aberdeen needs to choose between this project and Peacock has polarised opinion. I have always believed both add real value to each other."

Peacock approval

Sir Ian said: "If people don't want this transformational change, I will accept that with the consolation of being £50m better off.

"However, if that is what happens, the real losers will be the next generation of citizens of Aberdeen."

Acsef chairman Tom Smith added: "Sir Ian Wood's £50m towards a radical transformation of the city centre is conditional on the people of Aberdeen wanting it.

"If there is not enough support, he will withdraw his funding."

Whatever the outcome it is clear that a huge number of people feel strongly about the civic future of their city
Peacock spokesman

Approval for Peackock's new centre in the gardens has already been given.

A Peacock spokesman said: "We understand that unprecedented numbers have taken part in the consultation and whatever the outcome it is clear that a huge number of people feel strongly about the civic future of their city.

"We look forward to the results of the consultation giving us some much needed clarity on the way forward for our project, for our organisation and for the city."

And campaign group I Love Union Terrace Gardens thanked those who had "shown support for our cause".

A spokesperson said: "What has been seen throughout this process, more than anything else, is the unbridled passion of residents towards their city.

"At the end of the day Aberdeen belongs to the people of the city and it is indeed up to them to decide its future."

The public-private development agency Acsef has said internationally-acclaimed architects would be invited to come up with designs for the City Square project, which would raise the centre of Aberdeen as a civic space and gardens with an arts centre.



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SEE ALSO
Businesses back civic square plan
24 Feb 10 |  North East/N Isles
Public meeting over gardens plan
18 Feb 10 |  North East/N Isles
Annie Lennox opposes gardens plan
08 Feb 10 |  North East/N Isles
Guggenheim idea for city gardens
04 Feb 10 |  North East/N Isles
New designs for Union Terrace bid
19 Jan 10 |  North East/N Isles
Views sought on new city square
11 Jan 10 |  North East/N Isles
Gardens plan for city's new heart
04 Jan 10 |  North East/N Isles

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