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Sir Ian Wood offers to pay for City Garden referendum

Designs one and two for Aberdeen's Union Terrace Gardens
Image caption Two designs for Aberdeen's City Garden Project are being assessed

Businessman Sir Ian Wood has offered to pay for a referendum on the controversial proposed changes to Aberdeen's Union Terrace Gardens.

Two designs have gone head-to-head to compete for the high-profile £140m City Garden Project.

In a letter to city councillors, Sir Ian said he was willing to cover up to 80% of the cost of a poll - up to the value of £200,000.

It would be deducted from the £50m he had pledged to project.

The two designs in the running are called Granite Web and Winter Garden.

The teams behind the two favourite designs have now been asked to clarify the costs and viability.

January winner

It follows an international contest which saw six teams shortlisted.

A decision on the winning design is expected to be made in January.

A decision on a possible referendum is expected this month.

During a previous public consultation process, 55% of those who took part said they did not support the new development.

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

If the project proceeds, Aberdeen City Council believes construction could be finished by 2016.

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