NE Scotland, Orkney & Shetland

Aberdeen gardens project referendum 'to cost £250,000'

The six designs short-listed for Union Terrace Gardens in Aberdeen
Image caption Models and artists' impressions were on show for two weeks

A referendum on plans to transform Aberdeen's Union Terrace Gardens (UTG) could cost £250,000 and be held in February, a report has said.

Six design teams were chosen to compete for the high-profile £140m City Garden Project.

A report by Aberdeen City Council officials suggests a simple yes or no question could be posed to decide if the controversial project goes ahead.

Councillors will meet on Tuesday 15 November to discuss the report.

A panel of judges is meeting to start the process of selecting a design, after thousands saw potential schemes at a public exhibition.

The six competing 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.

The winner is expected later this month.

The Scottish government earlier said it would approve plans by Aberdeen City Council to use the tax incremental financing scheme, to raise tens of millions of pounds, if public support for the project could be demonstrated.

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

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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