Union Terrace Gardens radio adverts 'breached broadcast rules'

Union Terrace Gardens Councillors scrapped plans to redevelop Union Terrace Gardens

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Radio adverts about Aberdeen's Union Terrace Gardens referendum have fallen foul of broadcasting regulators.

Ofcom said the broadcasts on Northsound and Original in February breached the Advertising Standards Code.

Political advertising is banned on television and radio by the Communications Act.

Northsound told Ofcom it had not deliberately flouted any rules, while both stations said they did not believe the adverts were political.

Ofcom said the Vote for City Garden Campaign adverts had been transmitted 238 times by Northsound 1 and Northsound 2, while one against the plans went out 26 times.

The advert in favour of the gardens plans was transmitted 100 times on Original, but the advert by Mike Shepherd, of Friends of Union Terrace Gardens, was not broadcast at all.

Northsound and Mr Shepherd declined to comment.

A spokeswoman for the Vote for City Garden Campaign said: "The referendum was not political - it was about finding out whether the people of Aberdeen wanted the transformational change on offer for their city centre or the status quo.

"It is disappointing and, quite frankly, astonishing that certain local politicians chose to politicise a debate about city centre regeneration.

"The people of Aberdeen are not stupid and they voted based on what they believed was right for the city. The campaign material was produced to ensure people had all the key messages before making their decision."

In the referendum earlier this year, there were 45,301 votes in favour of the £140m City Garden Project plan to transform the historic Union Terrace Gardens, with 41,175 votes against.

However, councillors voted to scrap the project last month.

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