A Guest Post from Aberdeen campaigner Renee Slater:

On Wednesday 19th May 2010, Aberdeen City Council voted to support the destruction of Union Terrace Gardens and the replacement of these with Sir Ian Wood’s vision of a City Square.

Many of Aberdeen’s citizens think this was a wrong decision for several important reasons:

1. It has destroyed Peacock Visual Arts proposals for a new Arts Centre in the existing gardens which would have made the gardens more accessible and provided handy facilities such as cafe and toilets.

2. No economic case for the City Square has been made and the mechanism for the £90m+ not “gifted” by Sir Ian Wood would mean tax rises for local businesses.

3. The gardens themselves are used and loved. They are a vital cultural, historic and environmental asset to the City.

4. 55% of the people in the City Square consultation said No to the City Square proposals. Despite this, ASCEF (Aberdeen City and Shire Economic Future) wanted to pursue the issue and the City Council has agreed to this.

Aberdeen’s City Councillors have a fundamental duty to “represent their [constituents’] interests conscientiously” (source: The Scottish Government, Code of Conduct for Councillors) but have voted contrary to the public’s views following a consultation process that cost over £300,000.

For an excellent step-by-step analysis of the story so far, read Fraser Denholm’s blog.

What can we do?
There are thousands of people angry and upset at the prospect of City Square and the destruction of Union Terrace Gardens. If people work together, this can be stopped. There are sound planning reasons to keep the gardens and no economic case for their replacement with City Square has been made. So let’s group together as Friends of Union Terrace Gardens and do what we can to conserve and improve this beautiful part of our city. Join us and make your voice heard..

More information here: http://friendsofutg.org/