Posted by: christinelaennec | March 5, 2012

The Granite Web it is

For those of you who have been following the saga of the fate of Aberdeen’s Union Terrace Gardens, the vote has been for the “Granite Web” design.  (45,000 for and 41,000 against)  The voting turnout was 52%.  Here is what we have to look forward to:

I would love to be pleasantly surprised, but I will mourn to see the mature elms and other trees in the garden cut down:

Some of the trees in Union Terrace Gardens, spring 2010

The project will be financed in part by a £92 million Tax Incremental Financing loan from the Scottish government.  So that’s okay then!



  1. In part by £92 million? What’s the full cost? I’m a bit puzzled by the numbers, do you mean more people don’t want it than do want it and it’s still going ahead? It will be a great shame to lose the old trees, but I, like you, hope to be pleasantly surprised.

    • Hi Lorna,
      Firstly, thank you for pointing out an extra number in my original vote tallies! Now fixed. The rest of the money will be £50 million from Sir Ian Wood, plus £20 million of donations from other private investors. I believe the £92 million is meant to include some other civic schemes related to the new park, including a revamp of the nearby Art Gallery, which would be good.

      • Ah I see, I thought I was being dense (perfectly possible) and missing something. It was a very close vote, wasn’t it? There must be a lot of unhappy people now, 41,000 in fact. That is a lot of money to be spending on the project, but a revamp of the art gallery would be good. I remember visiting it once and thought it was nice but perhaps a little shabby round the edges.

  2. I’m ashamed to confess I haven’t followed the story of the development very closely, but as usual I’m aghast at the cost of it. Like you, I can’t bear to see the destruction of mature trees either.

  3. I cringe anytime I hear of a tree cut down….

  4. I’m very sorry about the trees.

  5. It is a shame about the elms, particularly as they presumably managed to avoid dutch elm disease. We had one at our previous home. Beautiful trees, its a shame they cant incorporate them or plant new ones as there are to be trees.

  6. It really makes one wonder if some of these ‘decision-makers’ only visit occasionally, from a the remote planet of bad ideas.

  7. I am sorry about your beautiful park being revamped. Such a shame about the trees! You will have to keep us informed on how it all turns out. xx

  8. Hmmm, a bit of self-promotion involved here. That’s something the SNP administration has in spades…

  9. What a shame to see those beautiful mature trees go…

  10. May it turn out better than expected. Just another tree hugger wondering why we cut down things that can’t be regrown in our lifetime.

  11. Thank you all for agreeing with me! It’s nice to know I’m not alone in mourning the needless death of 100-year-old trees. And I’m obviously not the only person in Aberdeen who wants to keep Union Terrace Gardens, but not enough of us voted No to make a difference. Martin, your “remote planet of bad ideas” did make me laugh! Linda, mm-hmm!

  12. The entire vote was a ruse, and considering how much money was thrown at the ‘vote change’ campaign, 52% in favour is not convincing. I’ve already written to TIF and the council and am awaiting a response.

    • Good luck! You’re not the first person to remark to me how obviously unequal the campaigns were in expenditure, and I’ve also heard quite a lot of muttering about how another outcome “would not have been allowed”.

      • I’ve been following the debaucle from the start (around four years since Peacock announced their plans) and the lack of transparency / democracy has been shocking. Around a year ago the public voted 55% no in an official consultation – Wood promised to walk away, clearly didn’t. Then a consultation for the favoured design was ran – results have still not been released. They just wouldn’t take no for an answer. The public paid for these, and the referendum.

        Wood’s ploy is clearly to raise the gardens, thus creating space underneath – the reason why no other designs were put forward for the referendum. Nobody has addressed this, which I feel is a massive oversight. According to my research the park and toilets are grade A listed sites, within a conservation area (Union Street). And the elmes themselves are under preservation order – although I believe the 52% majority gives the council and their ‘strategic partners’ the ability to go to town on it “because it’s what the public favour”.

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