NE Scotland, Orkney & Shetland

Aberdeen Union Terrace Gardens design plans unveiled

The six designs shortlisted for Union Terrace Gardens in Aberdeen
The public will be able to view models and artists impressions of the six designs

Designs for the controversial plans to transform Union Terrace Gardens in Aberdeen have been revealed to the public.

Six design teams have been selected to compete for the £140m City Garden Project.

It follows an international design contest to raise the level of the Victorian gardens.

An exhibition of the plans is to open on Wednesday at The Academy on Belmont Street.

The six teams are Foster and Partners of London, Diller Scofidio and Renfro/Keppie Design, Snohetta from Oslo/Gareth Hoskins Architects of Glasgow, Gustafson Porter of London, and two from the Netherlands - Mecanoo and West 8.

A winner is expected to be announced in November.

Malcolm Reading, of Malcolm Reading Consultants, which is running the design competition, said: "The finalists have a track record in designing spaces which intrigue, excite and refresh people.

"I would encourage people to go and see the designs to find out first-hand what is being proposed for the city centre."

'Definite rejection'

Sir Ian Wood, the Aberdeen oil services tycoon, has pledged £50m of his own money for the project.

There has been opposition to the project. During an earlier public consultation process, 55% of respondents said they did not support the new development.

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

The local authority is now considering a possible referendum on the issue.

Councillor Martin Greig, a well known critic of the development proposals, said: "People have lost faith in the whole process. The project already asked the public for their views and the response was a definite rejection.

"All around our city there are streets, schools, parks and other public facilities deteriorating seriously due to lack of income into the council's budget. These should be the priority."

If the project proceeds, Aberdeen City Council hopes construction of the city gardens could be completed by 2016.

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