NE Scotland, Orkney & Shetland

Tycoon says Aberdeen gardens revamp plan lacks 'impact'

Rosemount Viaduct Image copyright LDA Design
Image caption The Union Terrace Gardens plans include new walkways

Businessman Sir Ian Wood has claimed a new scheme to transform historic Union Terrace Gardens in Aberdeen will not have the same impact as plans he backed which was rejected seven years ago.

The project to completely redesign the Victorian sunken gardens were approved in March last year.

Sir Ian has previously pledged £50m towards plans in 2012, but the council controversially rejected the bid.

The oil tycoon said he was still willing to help improvement efforts.

Aberdeen City Council describes the current UTG plans as its "flagship" City Centre Masterplan project.

Groundworks are expected to start next month.

The £25.7m project includes new buildings, walkways, an amphitheatre and a cafe - as well as the restoration of the Union Terrace arches and Victorian toilets.

In 2012, the previous City Garden Project was narrowly rejected after a council debate.

It followed a referendum which saw 45,301 votes in favour with 41,175 votes against.

Image caption Sir Ian Wood backed previous plans

Sir Ian told BBC Scotland: "We have got a huge problem with the centre of our city, Union Street is one of the real big challenges that we have.

"That (the 2012 project) was a chance to have a real big impact - we lost it.

"I don't know exactly what they're going to do now, unfortunately it won't have the same impact.

"Having said that, if there's anything we can do to help what's going on in the centre of our city we will do it, because the milk has been spilt, it's gone."

Council co-leader Douglas Lumsden previously said: "The investment we're making is transforming our city and the benefits will be felt throughout the region.

"Generations to come can share in the rewards."

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