Thousands view City Garden project ideas in Aberdeen

The six designs shortlisted for Union Terrace Gardens in Aberdeen Members of the public have been viewing models and artists' impressions

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Thousands of people have viewed the short-listed designs for controversial plans to transform Union Terrace Gardens in Aberdeen.

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.

About 8,000 people have viewed the plans at an exhibition in The Academy on Belmont Street in the past week.

It is open until 2 November.

Councillor John Stewart, chairman of the City Garden Project management board, said: "People from across the city and beyond are visiting the exhibition to consider the approach each design team has taken.

"Many have been inspired by the concept designs and can see the difference this could make to the city centre of Aberdeen.

"Those not in favour of change are making their views known but we want to hear what inspires those who do want change."

'Own money'

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.

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.

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

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