One of my favourite places in the heart of Aberdeen is Union Terrace Gardens. It’s looking particularly lovely now – our springtime seems to be a bit earlier than usual this year, even with (or because of?) the deep-freeze November and December that we had. A few days ago there were lots of people enjoying the Gardens:
As you can see, Union Terrace Gardens is built on the sides of a valley. There are some beautiful old elm trees that survived the Dutch Elm Disease epidemic:
The valley that Union Terrace Gardens is built in is the Denburn Valley. The Denburn, one of the tributaries flowing into the River Dee, is underneath the railway and Denburn Road. Standing on the bridge which forms part of Union Street, there is a fine view across the Denburn Valley over to Education, Salvation and Damnation (now mostly obscured by the leaf buds on the trees in the Gardens):
When I began this blog last May, one of my first posts was a sad lament that, despite the public consultation going against the idea, the City Council had decided to fill in Union Terrace Gardens and transform it into one of the largest squares in Europe. (One of their arguments was that no-one uses Union Terrace Gardens.) Here is a promotional poster advertising the Council’s vision of what the new “City Square” might be:
Part of the impetus for this project is that Sir Ian Wood, a wealthy local businessman, has pledged £50 million to the project, which will of course cost about three times as much. Last week, on the same day that I took the photos of people enjoying the “un-used” Gardens, the Council launched a worldwide competition to redesign what they are now calling the “raised gardens”. This new terminology is no doubt supposed to placate the many outraged citizens who have publically protested the entire idea.
This post is part of my own public protest. I want the City Council to leave Union Terrace Gardens alone, and protect Aberdeen’s Victorian heritage. And instead of spending £100 million on this project, I think they should spend any money they have on re-opening swimming pools and bowling greens, re-hiring teachers and classroom assistants, re-opening libraries, disabled support centres and once again supporting the Fair Trade Shop, which has now closed due to lack of Council support with their rent.
I will get off my soapbox now!