NE Scotland, Orkney & Shetland

Referendum call on Aberdeen City Garden project

City Garden website
Image caption The £140m project aims to transform Aberdeen city centre

A local referendum should be held into Aberdeen's controversial City Garden project, it has been claimed.

The £140m project aims to transform Aberdeen city centre, potentially spelling the end of the historic Union Terrace Gardens.

Councillor Kevin Stewart, who is also the new SNP MSP for Aberdeen Central, said he would push for a public vote to be held.

An international design contest was launched in April.

Oil services tycoon Sir Ian Wood is pledging £50m of his own money towards the project.

The design competition is being managed by Malcolm Reading Consultants (MRC) and closes on 13 June.

A shortlist will be announced in July, and the winning bid is expected to be announced in December.

Teams are to include an urban designer, architect, structural, civil and services engineering, landscape architect and a cost consultant.

During a previous public consultation process, 55% of the respondents said they did not want the new square.

However, last May councillors backed taking the plans to the next stage.

The council hopes construction of the square will be completed by 2016 if the plan proceeds.

A spokesperson for the City Garden Project management board said: "The project is currently going through the process that was agreed at the council meeting back in May 2010.

"This involves an international design competition and the development of a business case."

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