NE Scotland, Orkney & Shetland

Aberdeen City Garden Project business case set to be debated

Granite Web
Image caption The winning design selected for the project was called Granite Web

The business case for a Tax Incremental Financing (TIF) scheme to part fund Aberdeen's City Garden Project if it goes ahead is set to be debated by councillors.

TIF would see a £92m loan to help to transform Union Terrace Gardens being paid back by increased income from business rates.

Supporters of TIF say it has the potential to create thousands of jobs.

However, opponents argue it is too risky.

The cost of the winning Granite Web design is £140m.

Businessman Sir Ian Wood had pledged £50m of his own money towards the scheme.

Other projects, including improvements to Aberdeen Art Gallery, also form part of the £92m TIF figure.

The city council's finance and resources committee will be told on Friday that the debt could be paid back in 20 years rather than 25.

That, council papers say, could save the authority £36m over those final five years.

Scrap scheme

A full meeting of the council next Wednesday will discuss the proposals to transform Union Terrace Gardens.

The administration's senior coalition partners, Labour, have said they want to scrap the scheme.

In a referendum earlier this year, people were asked if they wanted to retain the gardens or back the City Garden Project redevelopment.

More than 86,000 votes were cast online, by post and by phone during the referendum. There were 45,301 votes in favour of the project, with 41,175 people opposed to the plans.

If it goes ahead, the project could be finished by 2017.

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