Does this look like yes to you, Sir Ian Wood?

Ian Wood is rich because…


Aberdeen City and Shire Economic Future (ACSEF) is a partnership between the public and private sectors in and around Aberdeen, Scotland comprising:-

Tom Smith -Chairman of ACSEF – Managing Director, Nessco Ltd
Dave Blackwood – Non Executive Director, Valiant Petroleum
Melfort Campbell – Managing Director, Imes Group
Michael Clark – Chairman, International Fish Canners (Scotland) Ltd
Colin Crosby – President, Aberdeen & Grampian Chamber of Commerce
Russel Griggs – Scottish Enterprise Board member
Professor Stephen D Logan – Senior Vice Principal, University of Aberdeen
John Michie – Partner, Michies the Chemist
Stewart Milne – Chairman & Chief Executive, Stewart Milne Group
Councillor Anne Robertson – Leader, Aberdeenshire Council
Mike Salter – Non-Executive Chairman, ASCo Group Ltd
Stewart Spence – Owner, Marcliffe at Pitfodels
Councillor John Stewart – Leader, Aberdeen City Council
Andy Willox – Owner, Goldstar Cleaning Services

The responses below all counted as YES!

In response to the offer of £50 million from an Aberdeen businessman, Sir Ian Wood, a proposal was presented to the people of Aberdeen to rejuvenate sunken Victorian gardens which previously had been a busy working area with bleach greens and a social hub. Further back in time it had been a wood, the Corby Haugh. Corbies are crows. Significant parts of Aberdeen’s architectural and topographical have been lost by successive ‘improvement’ projects which have created the city many supporters of the City Square project castigate with damning phrase. Notwithstanding they are looking to encourage Sir Ian Wood to obliterate the gardens and replace them with a stretch of concrete from Union Street to Schoolhill which is more resonant of the 1960s and 70s than the 21st century.

The project is costed at £140 million so the remaining monies would have to be raised from private contributions, businesses and the local councils.

Sir Ian’s plans came on the coat tails of an existing plan by a Peacock Printmakers to have an architecturally interesting studio built into the bank of one corner of the gardens, retaining the amphitheatre which would remain a park and space for performance. Where people mention Peacock in their responses it is in connection with this project.

ASCEF made it clear that despite Peacock’s project having funding in place and planning permission it would have nothing to do with it.

ASCEF’s plans can be seen at:

ASCEF initiated a questionnaire on the promise that if the people voted their proposal down Sir Ian Wood would walk away. Leading PR specialists, Weber Shandwick carried out the questionnaire which was set up in such a way that many find it almost impossible to complete with any certainty that their views would be accurately recorded. It was revealed that despite recording opposition to the project, some of these responses were counted as ‘yes’ in favour. Confusion over completing the online questionnaire meant that many failed to notice the question which appeared to have counted most, approval of the scheme, was defaulted to ;yes’.

The questionnaire has now been published and I have made a selection of some of these responses which boosted the votes for Sir Ian Wood’s concrete vision – although the numbers still amounted to fewer than those opposed to raising Aberdeen’s gardens to street level.

See what you think
The comments are recorded as they were on the questionnaire. I have not corrected spelling/grammar.

1. Don’t destroy Aberdeen’s green space in the centre of the city. Never promote walking and cycling. Incoming reference number 131.

2. I would not like to see commercial / retail units there as it would take away from existing business and would spoil the green element of the gardens. An artisitc and peaceful oasis in the city centre would be loevely. Incoming reference number 164.

3. Whilst I support the notion of something being done to improve Aberdeen City, I believe that the many money may be better spent on alternative initiatives ie. Pedestrianisation of Union Street. I


5. please no concrete jungle

6. the council have already over spent who is going to lose out next.

7. in this econic slump the money that would be spent could be used elsewhere

8. please leave it as an open space

9. i would be against anything that would mean cutting down trees

10. there is no need for the expense of raising the area

11. no need to raise the square waste of money

12. Garden and greenery not overdone with concrete

13. We have enough concrete shopping in the city centre

14. the current picture shows a space with fart oo much concrete and stone and not enough wildlife. It looks like la defese just outside Paris which is a fairly depressing urban environemtn. Consideration should be given to how the place will look and feel on a cold and miserable day in winter not just a nice spring or summer day.

15. No more concrete or designs from peope who have no idea about Aberdeen. Cafe culture but no more bars

16. I think most people in the city and surrounding area agree that something needs to be done to modernise the gardens and to enhance the facility. Typically, the business community has swung behind Sir Ian to support his vision and potential legacy, just as they did with Donald Trump’s golf development. However, when the local representatives of the Chamber of Commerce and Federation of Small Businesses also added their weight in support, it appears, from the response in the media, that this was done without the wider consultation of their members.We live in a democratic country and as such there needs to be compromise between all the parties involved, Peacock, ACSEF and the general public. I have been fortunate to have travelled the world and I have seen numerous parks, gardens and civic squares. The existing gardens occupy a unique location, marred by the existence of the railway and Denburn dual carriageway. I do not wish to see a square built at Union Street level, I can’t imagine anything less exciting than a wide, relatively flat, concrete jungle as portrayed in the project’s illustrations but perhaps the area could be developed as a “BOWL”. The dual carriageway, railway and lower

17. Sir Ian Wood’s desire to leave a legacy in the face of his own mortality has threated to bury exquisite plans for UTG under hundreds of tons of unenvironmentally friendly concrete. UTG should be a space for the citizens of Aberdeen to enjoy an all too important green space; experience cultural events; and enhance the beauty of the city centre. Street level shopping plazas, bars and cafes will only contribute to the soulless feeling of the city centre. UTG should be saved not destroyed.

18. I strongly feel that we should keep a mostly green space in the centre of town, however, I also think Union Terrace Gardens would benifit from expansion, and upgrade. It is a pity the Gardens as they stand have fallen in to such shabby state. I would hate to see some concrete monstrocity built, with all the old trees and the old granite work and even the period toilets (I like them) being lost. Let the space keep some of its history.

19. Given Aberdeen’s climate, we feel that a large undercover space would be far more utilised than Union Terrace Gardens are at present.

20. The gardens should not be aloud to be turned in to a sprawling concreate mess.

21. I strongly agree that an arts cintre would be the most sensible option in promoting Aberdeens budding arts students. Currently there is not much supporting Grays School and young potential arts students. I dont see the point in raising the gardens to eye lovel I think it woul be a waste.

22. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Union Terrace Gardens ain’t broke, and is a beautiful green lung in the heart of of the city. Castle Street on the other hand is broke. It is underused, deserted, isolated, and utterly shabby, despite being at the heart of the City and at the culmination of a once iconic street that is heading the same downward spiral. It desperately needs to be brought back to life, and this could be done at a fraction of the cost.

23. Given that the council is in such dire financial straits I don’t think Aberdeen City can afford to embark on a hugely expensive project that requires substantial public funding. It is much more important to retain services to schools and vulnerable people than it is to spend huge amounts of money on this project.

24. I am not at all excited about the proposals put forward by sir Ian Wood. I feel that his plan will do exactly the opposite as is intended from the city square project. Use the exisiting templates and create something that aberdeen will be proud of. If Ian woods plan goes ahead i will leave this city.

25. The proposed paved-over plaza by Wood is a huge step backwards and belongs to bad old 1960s and 70s urban planning. Since it seems that some development will go ahead, it must be very green and park-like. The student proposals are all way better than any sketches for the Wood scheme. The big problem is that they all level the glen, whereas the dramatic changes in levels and perspective give Union Terrace its charm. Think how much Edinburgh gains from the multi-level streets and bridges. Why not do a compromise? Keep the glen and big established trees and use the money to cover over the railway and dual carriage way. This new construction would be level and permit gardens, water features, cafes etc without destroying the best of what exists.

26. The peacok visual arts project seems a better plan landscape wise but a propper conection to railway station and bus station should be provided or alternately a halt for trains /bus under the planned gardens. A large glass roof might be a good idea with the Aberdeen climate

27. For years the gardens have been underused, great space sadly only used by a very small amount of people. Most people watch round it but rarely venture through it. It is about time the space was better utilised, the area doesn’t need shops and lots of cafes and restaurants – some fine but not too many, plenty nearby. The gardens were always a place to relax so important to keep this ethos, would like to see some space allocated for the arts – art exhibitions, performing arts hopefully with the emphasis on promoting local art / artists.

28. Sir Ian Wood’s plans to level Union Terrace Gardens and provide Aberdeen with another concrete vista is not what the city needs. Union Terrace is a gem in the heart of the city and anything that can be done to increase usage of this landmark should be. Concreting it over is not the way forward.

29. The plans for redeveloping the existing gardens appear to be half finished. Had the architect considered covering over the road and railway with a sloping or stepped construction it would have allowed the full potential for the gardens as an open-air theatre/concert venue. This would have the benefit of maintaining the existing topography which is the only place where the original historical series of hills on which Union St. was constructed can be seen. One of the reasons the gardens are under-used is that they have been largely neglected by the council. I can remember playing giant chess and draughts in front of the arches many years ago. This was one of the first things to be removed from the gardens and while I do not necessarily advocate their return, it is the attitude involved in their removal which is indicative of the greater malaise. I note in the reports that 78 mature trees will be removed as part of the other options and that, since they are in the region of 200 years old, their replacement will certainly a matter of many decades. This is hardly in keeping with need to maintain the planet’s lungs. We can hardly lecture the Third World on conserving the rainforest if we chose to remove those few mature trees we still possess ourselves.I like the idea of refurbishing the gardens; I like the idea of

30. Peacock’s idea, its sensitivity to the historic landmarks in the locale, its relative cheapness and its innovation are superb and to be supported.

31. As part of the Aberdonian ‘diaspora’ I live and work in a foreign land, coming home to recharge regularly. Over the years I have witnessed so much ugly development in the city. There are more than enough shops and cafes already! UTG is a vital green space in the absolute heart of my favourite city. Don’t bury this jewel under concrete.

32. We don’t want Aberdeen to turn into a concrete jungle

33. I wholeheartedly support the Peacock proposal, which should be the starting point for a continuing improvement of the use of UTG. I do not support concreting over the gardens and putting some plants on the top level.

34. Really need to develop what we have when one looks at what was done at Covent Garden would be sad to rip the gardens apart the basic layout is there – Aberdeen has had the heart ripped out all over like old market in Market St and Co-op Loch St the opportunities were there but just put up more concrete malls we need something special which we already have just needs some TLC and need it utilised so every member of the family can use

35. This consultation has been presented in a very onesided way – ie as if it were a given that the citysquare project is what should happen and you are being asked what is wanted in it. The timing of the proposal by Sir Ian Wood and his offer to partly finance appeared to be very cynical in stopping the Peacock Arts Centre project going ahead. I was very happy when the Peacock project was first mooted as it would give Aberdeen an exciting, beautiful contemporary building set in the lovely green space we already have; this would give Aberdeen and the North East much much more both for the present and future population as well as making the green space accessible and used by people as it should be. The prospect of a huge square in place of the gardens is a terrible prospect and I have yet to understand the contention that this is necessary for the future well economic welfare of the city. It may well benefit the construction industry and other businesses in the short term but in the long term I cannot see what benefit it will have – I just do not see that visitors and businesses are going to come to Aberdeen because there is this huge out of proportion space in

36. With the only few remaining green spaces in the city, considering the importance of making Aberdeen greener and regenerated, the Peacock ‘s scheme will definitely benefit. As it is, the gardens are almost in abandonment and a cultural centre are both educational and it integrates the people of Aberdeen, rooted into its heritage and culture. If profit is the main consideration, imagine not having maximum usage – causing less profit. Moreover, if retail is main priority I can’t imagine not able to get what I want from Union Street outlets and also the new Union Square. Sustaining existing shops would be most feasible especially in light of the economic situation.

37. This valauble grenn historic space must not be lost to yet another concrete slabbed mall or wasted “arts” space – what’s wrong with the Art Gallery – if there’s no money to keep it open as it once was where’s the money coming for this stupid idea? Aberdeen has enough malls (many not full) and daft projects without anymore – Union Street is a disgrace! Empty shops, litter – need I go on?

38. i am completely against Sir Ian Wood and his attempt to construct a monumental eye sore in Aberdeen to sustain some kind of legacy for himself. I fully support Peacock’s visual art centre and believe that it will bring a new dynamic to the city centre. I have incredibly fond memories of Union Terrace Gardens from when i was growing up in Aberdeen and would hate for the gardens to be ruined. It is currently the only central green space in aberdeen.

39. Union Terrace gardens is a beautiful relaxing place that I have enjoyed since I was a child. I still meet friends there for lunch, and the gardens are a must see in the Spring/Summer. It should be left as it is… there is plenty of centres etc in the city centre as it is.

40. Any short term economic benefit to Aberdeen will be strongly offset by the un-reversible destruction of one of the city centre’s iconic spaces, and one of it’s few green areas. The last thing Aberdeen needs is more cars in the centre, more high-street chains, and more coffee shops. We have just got Union Square, we don’t need another similar development.

41. what a totally appalling idea ian wood’s is: the city does NOT need more souless buildings or concrete in its centre: open green spaces are what is needes.

42. Confusing request….eg do we mark every option or just rank top 5 which I have done.

43. I supported the original proposal in which a contemporary arts centre was a prime target for the development. I WILL NOT support any development which includes yet more RETAIL outlets.The photographs showing the area around Union Square show one with the roads and railway tracks and another poor photograph of the gardens making the area look worse that it actually is at present. Artists’ impressions of the area after development do not show these which implies they will no longer exist rather than are not longer visible.

44. I support this project – provided that it incorporates the proposed new centre for Peacocks Visual Arts. In the case that it does not, I do not support it.

45. I would think in the current economic climate, and the shortages of money which Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire council are facing then this money could be better spent elsewhere. ie. gritting the areas roads in this current winter has been a disgrace. I travel 50 miles everyday between my house and work and have seen only two gritters passing on the road this winter…!!!! Leave it as it is

46. Not sure about whether I support the CSP, but no not sure box to tick!!It is not clear if this project is the Peacock Arts proposal or that which has been proposed by Ian Wood. If there are 2 proposals, then both should be given the opportunity to be surveyed and the public decise on which they deem the better option.

47. Aberdeen needs CULTURE. The answer is not always about money like Sir Wood has. We have enough shops thank you. I say get involved in Peacocks plans or get Sir Wood to NOT CONCRETE our ONLY GREEN and CUT DOWN our beautiful ancient trees.

48. Aberdeen doesnt need more shops and concrete-Open residents eyes to new things. Let community flurish with new ideas and visual inspiration before it’s too late.

49. It is very important to protect the very limited green space we have,also that it fits in with Aberdeen’s heritage.

50. do we need another concrete jungle with rubbish themes cafe bars and retail outlets?

51. I just wish to point out that many people may have filled this in wrongly, as my husband did initially, believing that 5 and not 1 indicated what was most important !

52. I grew up in Aberdeen and still spend a great deal of time up there as my family & friends still live there so l care a lot about what happens to Aberdeen. The thought of Union Terrace Gardens being raised and paved over makes me very both sad & angry. Its such a beautiful area of the city and while I agree it is not being used to its full potential, the plans to raise it all is quite frankly shocking. I have seen the Peacock plans for the arts centre which sounds like a much better idea for what is such an important part of Aberdeen’s city centre.

53. The gardens are lovely. I have often spent my lunch hours there and would be upset to see tem buried. I think money should be spent on extra lighting and maintenence to ensure they are a safe place to visit but that development be kept to a minimum. It would be nice to have the public toilets back in order though and well maintained!

54. leave union terrace gardens as it is.Have wardens patrolling to keep it safe and a coffee stall like the ones outside marks and spencer with some seating

55. We do not need ANY MORE SHOPS in the city centre. We need a space to relax, with not too many nasty fast food outlets. The arts are suffering in Aberdeen. Union Terrace Gardens could be renovated. there are plenty play areas for children in the town. We need an adult space. Bring back the toilets, the outdoor games. Do not cover it over.

56. Having lived in a town with, what can only be described as, a vast concrete scar in the middle of it I know what the realities are of having such an area. Most people will use it as a quick way to cross from Union Street to the Schoolhill area paying little attention to the ‘outdoor auditorium’ or concrete benches. At night the area will be a target for teenages to drink and smoke and every morning the space will be littered with cans, bottles and cigarette butts.Essentially what this proposal means for Aberdeen is the loss of a unique and beautiful park and garden. Many summer afternoons have been spent in the park enjoying the last little green space in the heart of Aberdeen by myself, my friends and countless others. People play games, laze on the grass, enjoy themselves in a space that is an integral part of Aberdeen.There is nothing more relaxing that lying on the grass in the sunshine and having a place like Union Terrace Gardens bang smack int he heart of the city centre is an amazing gift one that we should not concrete over or turn into another shopping centre

57. Concrete and the usual high street shops above a car park would be the waste of a tremendous opportunity and would be a discredit to the city

58. I have only said No to supporting the Project because you have given no 3rd option. No sane person can support something we cannot see. They can only support change in principle but not at any cost just for the sake of change.Your artists impressions are irrelevant at this stage and drawn by someone with little imagination. They look like typical newspaper style impressions to try to steer people. If you come up with the right and comprehensive designs then I am likely to support it. If you stick with those I wouldn’t. A great gray, flat area of paving is not what we need. Something iconic and inspirational which puts energy back into the centre is what is needed after the insensitive city centre crass treatment that has gone before it. Take a look at what Dundee is doing with the V&A. This town will lose its way in Scotland if we botch this up with half hearted parochial measures like so much else that has been done in recent years by the council. If shops are to be included in the concourse area then let them be smaller, speciality shops which are not already in Aberdeen. The repetition of big brand shops in the various centres is becoming extremely boring!
59. Please don’t fill the gardens with Granite as Aberdeen is quite a dull depressing place on a dull grey day of which there are plenty! Plenty of greenery please!!!

60. I cannot understand why the Peacock project can be discarded in such an off-hand manner when it was passed in prinicipal? Along came the Wood plan which leaves a cost to the tax payer of £40,000,000, this at a time when the services provided by the council are already declining. The closure of day centres and homes for those with learning difficulties, the inability of the roads department to clear snow or repair pot-holes, the closure of local libraries; the list is endless. Let us hope that common sense will prevail and Union Terrace Gardens are enhanced by the Peacock project, reinvgourating a sadly neglected city centre gem.

61. Would prefer to see the gardens preserved as they are but possibly with easier access and no hidden nooks and corners where drug users or drinkers can congregate. Would like to see the public toilets reopened. Definitely no concrete, contemporary structures or plazas.

62. I think that the art centre and gardens project is far superior. with union square we really dont need another mall and union terrace gardens is one of the few scenic places in aberdeen and that should be maintained as much as possible. also aberdeen desperately needs a cultural centre. Lets promote creativity not consumerism!

63. Please do not build a concrete jungle, there is enough grey miserable granite around, inject some life and colour into the city centre.

64. Road upgrading should be an essential feature so as to minimise travel disruption during construction. Infrastructure upgrade should be in place BEFORE start of Gardens redevelopment, otherwise we risk creating yet another traffic blackspot. We’ve had enough of these with the inaction on infrastructure upgrading over the past 30 years!

65. I think Sir Ian’s scheme Is a bit over the top I think the gardens need a bit of a more low key redesign. I think the Peacock Visual Art’s proposal is more of a fitting and less expensive option.

66. I do not want more parking in the city centre. This will make traffic congestion and air quality worse, not better.I think it is an appalling idea to destroy mature trees in the city centre, as this proposal will necessitate, as the raised floor cannot support them..We do not need more retail or eating outlets.I think it is wrong that the public are not being given the opportunity to see and express their views on alternative proposals. It is not a real consultation. Having the default button set to “yes” for question 3 is dishonest.I think this is very expensive for a council that is cutting staffing in schools. Other schemes being mooted have funding in place and would cost the public purse less.I will do everything in my power to oppose this proposal.

67. I like the current gardens, trees and quiet atmoshere where people can sit and enjoy a nice day. It provides a pleasent green but small oasis in the middel of all the buildings, albeit that access is not the best. I have no confidence that any design will do no more than produce a sterile concrete and stone atmosphere found in dozens of amorphus city centres. In our climate it will probably end up as a windy litter ravaged and chewing gum covered bleak and depressing area with few trees and green areas. The problem is that any project done in Aberdeen in the last twenty five years that I know of has always gone for the most basic cheapest, smallest most minimal design and has never produced anything outstanding. There is no real broad vision in Aberdeen to make it a great city, it is all piecmeal development eg the various shopping developments.

68. I do not currently live in Aberdeen but it is my childhood and home town, and I will be moving back there soon. I fully support the Peacox Art Centre project

69. I think that Aberdeen city centre has very few open green spaces and in a city that is known for being grey already green spaces are important. It gives people who live centrally somewhere to walk their dogs, sit outside as most city centre housing do not hhave a garden. Green spaces are supposedly associated with better mental health and people being happier, when Aberdeen was voted something like happiest place to live (or something along those lines) a couple of years ago apparently green spaces are key to this. To get rid of this to turn it into yet more grey space and shopping would not only be destructive towards the environment but would have a negative impact on the culture surrounding the city centre.

70. There is a shortage of green spaces in the city and to destroy this one would be unethical, and trying to cover it up as a project for the people when in fact it is a another way for rich business people to exploit the environment and make more money.Save Union Terrace Gardens

71. I like Union Terrace Gardens as it is, a sunken space, I’m not keen on bringing it to street level – the pictures / ‘ideas’ look horrible!!! I think more should be done with the space we have already, it is a waste and people are unaware of it, but it looks like it will end up being a ‘concrete jungle’…..

72. I am not for this City Project, the money donated and required should be used to improve on the road and transport infrastructure of Aberdeen. It currently takes almost 2 hours to get from city to Aberdeen Airport by road and bus, a major road runs through Aberdeen as well. As well as reducing the crime during the night and weekends, improve on current council services. Consider other alternatives to improving Aberdeen, other than destroying an already open area.

73. The presentation video depicts happy smiling people in a warm friendly environment.These are all the things Aberdeen is NOT. This will be a new refuge for drunks drug addicts and beggars.It is not the city that needs transforming it is its people.A betetr legacy is to spend all the money on improving our footpaths , roads and existing parks all of which have been neglected for too long.

74. Although it says I am against the Project I could be persuaded – i.e. I am actually undecided but that option is not there. It will depend on the proposals that I see.

75. I fully support and endorse the Peacock proposal which will offer the best to the people of Aberdeen without having the loss of many mature trees that lend so much to this oasis in the city centre. To fill in and concrete over the gardens would be appalling. Imagine the outrage if this was proposed in Princes Street Gardens, Edinburgh. The Peacock proposal is sympathetic to the existing site, 75 % of funding is in place and it will not create a huge debt on the public purse of Aberdeen residents.

76. I feel that the vast amount of money required to complete this project is a waste.If this money is available then spend on hospitals, Schools, Emergency services and get more Aberedenshire people into work. More care in the community, more police on the streets more nurses in hospitals. The list is endless.This project should not go ahead but spend the money more wisely. Pleas3.

77. Aberdeen does not need more retail space. The number of empty retail spaces in the City Centre already, even in the new Union Square development reinforces this. As a City Aberdeen lacks a cultural focus point.

78. I was brought up in Aberdeen and lived there for 40 years. Union Terrace Gardens [Trainie Park] has a wealth of happy memories for me. Now my grandchildren play there and I would hate for that to change. It provides a much needed little green oasis in the middle of town.

79. The present gardens should be left as they are. They need money spent on them to make them cleaner and safer. They are an important place to relax both for visitors and Aberdonians. (When we get sunshine). The design with concrete paving would look tatty and dirty in no time and can not be rejuvinated in the same way grass can.

80. What we have right now is an amazing, unique space which has so much potential to be improved without wasting money on things which Aberdeen already has.There are enough beautiful, UNUSED buildings, in and around Aberdeen (which are just sitting empty), to transform them into an Arts Center. It is not necessary to rip out the lungs of the city to do that. Union Terrace Gardens is ALREADY unique and beautifully placed in the heart of the city, why not USE that instead of covering it up? Regular maintenance from the council would go a long way, along with some decent toilets. The archways on the mid-level walkway are perfect for market stalls of unique clothing, fruit and veg LOCALY produced, along with some NON commercial or chain based cafe’s, coffee shops and restruants open till late with all year round outside seating and some live music or live theatre from LOCAL artists. A good area for some of the suggestions that are being put forward for what Aberdeen ‘needs’ could be placed where that hideous council building is, beside marshal college. Take that down and the city would be improved immediately. Put some gardens there, which is ALREADY street level with some nice hang out areas and wonderful views of Marshal College and LOCAL citizens can go there to eat their lunch, instead of going to a grave yard or (at the moment) uncared for gardens.I think you’d find that many citizens of Aberdeen live here, and enjoy living here, because it is not an overly busy city. Many …

81. Rather than obliterating what is already there, the current space should be enhanced by Peacock visual arts development and Steve Bothwells plans to renovate the old Victorian toilets to an eating place.Don’t let the same council who allowed the design of the flats at Kepplestone and Union Square, decide on what happens in this space. Aberdeen has a history of ruining beautiful places and buildings instead of appreciating and maintaining them, have you ever seen the old ‘new market’ building, the entrance on Market street (which was allowed to be demolished) was by Archibald Simpson – criminal waste of amazing architecture. Our council allows the city to be cheapened more and more every day. We should also be saving Bon Accord Swimming Pool and not allow the council to leave it shut until everyone forgets about it and them make a killing selling it to a developer!

82. I think £50m is a lot of money to spend on a garden that already exists. With the beautiful gardens that already exist in the area and the severe lack of professional sporting facilities this extreme amount of money could easily be used, more usefully and to benefit the next generation within Aberdeen, elsewhere.

83. Keep the trees and the sunken gardens, light them up, do them up don’t destroy what we have, but build on the elements already there.

84. Culture, not concrete, for the good of the people

85. Make Woody moody – Aberdeen is not his plaything.

86. I would like to see the gardens kept as a ‘hidden gem’ but made more accessable to everyone. Take away the fear created by junkies,drunks and ‘wierdos’ who have been allowed to use the gardens as a toilet/doss house. I would like to see a place that is pleasant to wander through; with entertainment, cafe’s, space for kids to safely let off a bit of steam, a ‘cool’ place for teens to hang out and a place the responsible drinkers of Aberdeen can enjoy without fear. But please don’t spoil another part of this beautiful city trying to create an “iconic/modern/world class” mess of concrete, steel and glass that nobody Aberdonian wants.


88. I would not wish to see the gardens raised as i think that is what makes them unique, I would just like to see some TLC administered. I would like to see it transformed into a safe environment that could be enjoyed by young and old alike. It desperately needs to move with the times and needs to incorporate nice cafes and bistro type establishments.

89. Now is your chance to breathe some new life into the beautiful green space we have right here in the heart of the city. Below street level, away from the noise of the traffic, we have our very own Princes Street Gardens of the North. Take this chance to open it up again with the Peacock Visual Arts Centre. You say it yourself – “An iconic contemporary arts centre”.What you really should not do is fill in our last remaining area of Mediaeval Aberdeen and pave it over. This is the equivalent of digging up your front garden to park on. We will have no need to rent an ice rink in the winter, as this is what it will become. In the summer, the people of Aberdeen can enjoy dodging out of the way of skateboarders and the council can spend a large chunk of its budget on removing the vast swathe of chewing gum that will coat its nice new paving. Don’t be sucked into the scheme of a rich man, think of the future of this city and how future generations will look back with regret at a bad decision.

90. How can you justify spending such a huge amount of money into a concrete slab when the council dont even have enough money to repair pot holes in the roads…enough sand/gritters during the crazy snow we have had recently, and when the likes of the Glencraft Factory was closed down last year due to lack of funds.I would hate to lose a beautiful green space where me & my friends enjoy spending days in the summer time for a ‘civic space’ that will prob not live up to its expectations.We should be making better use of the gardens rather than concreting over them.

91. I have to add, that, to be honest, I would rather the money was spent on Education. However, Aberdeen city centre has become ugly enough (with the amount of anti-social behaviour & cheap nasty shops), and I would rather see gardens, greenery, arts centres & all age groups using the space- instead of Junkies and young drinkers. To cover it in concrete and make the taxpayers of Aberdeen be forever in debt is criminal & unthinkable.

92. I’m in support of developing the park however I feel that the way in which this is done could result in the loss of a valuable tranquil green space in the centre of the city. I work on Union Terrace and use the park for my lunch throughout the summer months. If it became a bustling contemporary space i.e. devoid of trees and grass I’m sure I would have to find elsewhere for some peace and quiet whilst lying on the grass and eating my lunchI’m a supporter of modern design and architecture however it‚Äôs not hard to find similar developments that rapidly become grey, sterile short-cuts and attractive only to pigeons, gulls and skateboarders. I would certainly feel upset about losing any of the mature trees and would be deep upset by caf√©‚Äôs and retail outletsPlease don‚Äôt delete a lovely park in favour of fickle fashions

93. I am 57 years old, and remember the gardens as a child, my beloved mother, god rest her soul, loved the gardens and would often take us there for picnics, and to watch the entertainment, mostly dancing and bands, it was always packed, and you could spend a whole day there, I used to long for the day I was old enough to play the gigantic draughts. I remember it as being vibrant back then, and was disappointed when it started to get misused over the years, and the powers that be allowed it to happen. I would support most ideas to restore it to its formal glory, but wouldn’t like to see it raised and concreted over completely, that would be sad, we live in a concrete jungle as it is. Whatever the changes I would trust you to treat it with love, care and the respect it deserves.

94. I feel that it necessary to have green space in the city centre – I heard someone describe the gardens as the ‘lungs’ of Aberdeen and I thought that was very appropriate. Who wants to see stone everywhere? I agree Aberdeen is a very beautiful city with its granite buildings but nature is alive, vibrant and refreshing and a welcome change amongst all the commerce and trade.

95. Personally i’d prefer to see the gardens as they are right now, BUT given a major overhaul, making them much more accessible, cover over that dual carriagway and railway line, i seem to recall something like this in the EE/P&J a few years back and thought it was one of the better ideas, i’d be much against raising them, preferring them as they are but looked after and modernised slightly with cafe’s and markets, and much more accessible from all sides, and i believe covering the road and railway would help this and create a sort of lowered “Amphitheatre” with direct access from all sides, Union Street, Union terrace, and the theatre side removing all the walls around there so people will naturally enter the area, as it stands now there are 3 ways in so people mostly walk right past it. I recall playing in the gardens in the 70’s, and there were trampolines and many other things to draw families in, this has to be the focus in my opinion, an outdoor theatre in the summer months, and USE the gardens. Everything nowadays is CONCRETE, don’t follow this path with the gardens.

96. I think the Peacock’s plans are dynamic, inclusive and just what Aberdeen needs to spark its city centre. Economically it’s also the best choice for a city that is looking at such a shortfall in its public fincances.

97. I am in favour of responsibly revitalising the UTG, In principle at least. I am concerned that the proposed scheme would destroy a Historic architectural landmark, a beloved island of peace and quiet in our city and kill many ancient trees.This could easily become little more than another shopping mall roofed by a folly.That would be an absolute tragedy.

98. Leave the Trainie Park as it is. If an Wood wants to give away 50 million let him give it to this incompetent council, maybe it will help sort out their woes.

99. Not in agreement with the project. I do not wish to be consulted at any time.

100. This plan must not go ahead. Although some there is a need and an opportunity to do something great here, this plan fails to meet the needs and does not make the most of the opportunity. Let the Peacock plan go ahead, and then come back with a better idea later.. The right idea will get the support it needs, this is not it.

101. I wholly oppose the Wood group proposal for the obliteration of Union Terrace Gardens which embodies most that is bad in “civic” planning. It has no sense of history or place, no recognition of how the topography of central Aberdeen is part of the uniqueness of the city. There might well be problems as to public use of Union Terrace Gardens but as the Peacock proposal has shown these can be addressed without removing the dramatic green space that is the gardens. To suggest as Ian Wood has done that his bland design will be a “cross between the Grand Italian Piazza and a mini Central Park‚Äù is like saying that building a pyramid in Las Vegas makes Nevada Egypt. At least the “pyramids” of Las vegas can be easily removed not so easily restored would be the natural defile of the Denburn Valley. And its loss would be to what end? To make Aberdeen attractive to new energy business? How exactly this will work we are not told. Was the sad decline in Union Street a function of poor old Union Terrace Gardens being at times in the shade, being below street level or had it more to do with the …

102. i really feel that the area should be kept as near to the way it looks just now. changing it and bringing it up to street level would ruin the whole effect. the depth of the area allows you to feel like you are a million miles from the city centre. the floral displays in the summer bring happyness to all who see them and it would be a real shame to remove the only shining delight that our city centre has to offer.

103. I personally think that we should be preserving the landmarks which we already have, such as Union St. Aberdeen city has a history of destroying the heritage that it already has and building monstrosities in their place (e.g. Bon Accord Shopping Centre – instead of doing something to retain features of George St) Would we not be better spending this money on other things like – a) pedestrianise Union St and perhaps cover it with some sort of transparent weather protecting cover; b) trying to get a tram system for the city (something which we also used to have until our wonderful city fathers ripped up the lines)

104. Aberdeen over the years has been ruined with very bad planning this plan would only add to it aberdeen city council have over the years let the gardens deterate i totaley appose this project

105. I love everything about the gardens going down the steps and the views from all around, but I do agree that they are under used. I would still like to see lots of trees, shrubs and greenery not lots of concrete also sheltered areas as we get cold winds blowing down Union Streetcafes/bars/rest. are fine as long as the area is not full of litter.

106. This plan looks horrendous, the costs involved are way too much and the Peacock centre looks a much better plan. This may seem to look sparkling and contemporary on the artist impressions, but very shortly after opening it will start looking tattie and worn. Also, an ice rink? We should be concerving energy, not wasting it on an outdoor icerink. And Sir Ian Wood may look generous, donating all that money, but the public is required to put in more than we have and he gets to make his money back with the underground scheme. That is not generosity, that is a business deal, so don’t make it look like a donation.

107. I think the survey is too complicated and biased towards the City Square Project. I am in favour of the Peacock Arts Project because they already have funding.

108. I do not support the proposed project because it will ruin the city by making it a boring, flat space. The city needs to take as its examples other great European cities or Melbourne or Seattle, where heritage is treasured and retail and flat concreted areas are not the be all and end all of city life. Keep the diversity; go for something classy and cultural. The Peacock Visual Arts Centre proposal is a better option for this and the future generations of Aberdeen. It could be supplemented with a flat area over the dual carriageway and railway line to be used for farmers markets and performing arts. The last thing Aberdeen needs is a flat, barren, windy, concrete centre; what the the city needs is a diverse, vibrant, beating, cultural heart!

109. Lets keep it the way it is. Also lets get rid of the junkies and alchoholics from the gardens.

110. Sir Ian Wood’s project would ruin the only real green environment the city centre has, and remove any sense of non-urban landscape the city has left.

111. Aberdeen has many retail outlets.. this is a unique, green, centre to the City..if it is lost it is lost for ever. I’ve lived in Aberdeenshire for more than forty years and seen one development after another produce unattractive retail outlets and shopping centres. The character of Aberdeen city has been overwhelmed..We need green space more than we need shops and bars and in future years as green space becomes less and less accessible, future generations will value it even more than we do today. It needs to be cherished and valued.

112. Ian Wood’s proposal is the most ridiculous idea I have ever heard of. I have lived in Aberdeen all my life(53 years) and if it goes ahead I will leave Aberdeen all together. Peacock have the most exciting proposal that this city has seen in years and Aberdeen City Council are selling themselves out because of who Ian Wood is and nothing else.

113. I do not think there is any need to cover the Union Terrace Gardens in, but to make the space more user friendly. The new Peacock Visual Arts Centre will bring people into the gardens, who would not normally venture in as they currently feel threatened. A Restaurant, and Cafe would be useful for tourists, and the opportunity for shop & office workers to use the space in the summer to eat lunch and relax in the open air. There is a similar sunken garden in Bath, which is well used by the public. Mothers take their children to play, workers use it at lunch time, and tourists use it as a pleasant place to relax when sight seeing. I do not support the city square project

114. How many sterile, wind blown, “people squares” have to be built in cities the world around before it is realised that it doesn’t work!? Oh, wait a minute, the profits for the developer are in anyway aren’t they…so what does it matter.

115. Please, please, please lets – not lose out heritage!! The oil industry has done nothing architectural in Aberdeen – The oil industry is by nature transient. How can it be allowed to create something as long lasting as a city square!! The oasis of Union Terrace Gardens must be maintained, preserved and championed – Do you think New York would give up it’s heritage of Central Park so easily?? No way – Union Terrace is our Central Park. I was art the meeting at the Citadel – stunning – Especially Elly Rothnie. Tom Smith got loads of publicity for his ‘Ronaldo’ quote but we should use her citizenship quote more effectively!! She said she had learned a great deal about citizenship – I believe we should argue as citizens for our rights!! xx

116. I question the logic of raising the current land to street level (which I hear is a proposal) for any reason other than accessibility. Would deciding against this not provide a much larger pot of funds to realise even more of the proposals in the current space. Also, I have read reports of proposed local library closures, unless this is a privately-funded venture, should we not be diverting funds to keeping these open rather than embarking on large vanity projects?

117. The last thing I would want to see is masses of concrete. I think it is important to retain what is essentially a garden area.

118. I support Peacock Visual Arts proposal – nothing more. Aberdeen does not need more retail facilities!

119. I fully support the proposal put forward by Peacock Arts. They have managed to find the balance between keeping a beautiful part of Aberdeen’s heritage whilst the Arts Centre will bring it a new lease of life.

120. Union Terrace does not require big changes it is always been known as a meeting point in Aberdeen to relax and the Gardens are to be kept as Green Space in Aberdeen City Centre is very limited, it is also a great place for photographs during Graduation Season

121. I do not wish to see the gardens filled in and utilised as development space by Sir Ian Wood. I feel that the Peacock project is by far the better option as it will limit disruption and create an exciting area without regeneration and loss of heritage.

122. please dont destroy another beautifull place

123. An alternative to this laughable project is a ¬£50 million statue of Sir Ian Wood somewhere in the City that can be his ‘legacy’ that he desperately craves.The rich are never satisfied.

124. As a visitor to Aberdeen in 2008, I absolutely loved the Union Terrace Gardens. What a wonderful green space that already had a great walking and biking trail. It is a great place to showcase the history of Aberdeen with it being within walking distance of the theater, shopping and dining. The apartment that I rented actually was within walking distance of the park. Too many places are tearing up and developing their green space as shopping venues. I live in Tulsa Oklahoma USA, where there are 45 miles of riding, running and walking path’s following our river. It is a great green space and a great place for exercise, meeting friends, family, or just a great place to sit and read. Our river parks actually has an outdoor amphitheater for concerts and fireworks. Including numerous races both running and biking. It would be a shame to hear that Union Terrace Gardens had been filled in and had retail shopping put in place of such a great visual and public green space, with so much potential.

And 24 of many bizarre ones which were counted as YES!

• Make a full size football pitch for the kids with goals and nets. A hairdresser. A Liverpool F. C club shop.

• I wonder how many people who would have objected to the square ever visit the gardens. It has always been a cold place (life long Aberdonian 72 years). Incoming reference number 56.

• I am a 76 year old disabled pensioner and all leaving it lets get on with it. What will you do with all the granite shops it is used and sat dumped. This ist he grantie city. Lets keep it.

• My wife and I used to love Union Terrace until we became old age pensioners and became wheelchair bound. Come on Council! We say 100% City Square proposal. Jimmy Shand should play in the concert / theatre space. There should be more space available for leisure.

• At the moment that area is wasted. Lived in Aberdeen all my life, and never been down to the gardens!

And again …

• lived in aberdeen my whole life and never been to union terrace gardens if it goes ahead i will use it much more.

And again…

• I have lived in Aberdeen all my life and have never gone into the gardens because I believbe them to be unsecure. I would like to see the gardens raised to street level so they are more accessible and safer.

• Police present at all timesto make it safe.

• the gardens are wasted as people do not go to them as waters are hanging arounf=d

• the pies in the brochure are impressive some similarities to Manchester City

• why does inverurie and peterhead get a say

• In response to the question-do you support the City Square project I ask the question-what is the City square project?I do not support the visual representations of proposed development which I understand do not represent a design solution.

• No Junk Mail Please, Anonymous Surveys get a lot more feedback than this.I seriously think you should consider the Lord Provost Fight Club idea, or if you want a bit more competition use Kate Dean, she looks like she would come out top in a pub brawl…

• I am disappointed with the lack of response from true Aberdonians who want the best for their city. I feel the peole against the project are those of an older generation for nostalgic (and selfish) reasons wish the area to remain much as they are – which is a vastle underused area. Omlu a very low % of locals/visitors use/take in Union Terrace Gardens as they are but a new civic square would be used by everyone and give us something to be proud of – unfortunately Aberdeen city centre currently lacks s ‘showpiece’ area that larger and smaller cities (domestically and internationally) have, which is a shame to say the least!

• I would like to see the gardens being changed fairly quickly. The idea needs to be developed and actioned as quickly as possible. I have only ever been in the gardens once in my nearly 13 years living in Aberdeen. They really do need an upgrade. As a parent with children, I may venture into the town centre more often if there was a nice green place in the town centre with play facilities that I considered safe to take my children to. The markets which are usually in Belmont St and Union Terrace would have more space in the renewed gardens, I like coming to the markets when they are on but they are so crowded I hardly stay long enough to look at everything. I am not an “arty” person and I haven’t heard enough about the proposed art centre to be able to comment on that.

• I don’t think massive changes are needed. Leave it as it is and re-vamp it. Shops/cafes where arches are. Lots of flowers, nice toilets, auditorium, childrens play area. Do we need to spend millions?

• Need to retain green space

• I think this is a fantastic opportunity, fantastic vision and also fantastic challenge for the city. I believe that the square can be absolutely world class and a real centre point and attraction for visitors and locals alike. However, I think the key to success for the project (notwithstanding the technical challenges) is to have a square that has many focal points and many uses and attracts families to the city centre even late at night. In my opinion it will be of no use if it just feels like a large communist square as suitable for displays of tanks and rockets.

• The guff and language associated with this is nauseating and does the project no good. The Facebook video is irrelevant and trite. “This…” threesome is cringeworthy. For goodness sake retain some of the culture and history of the North east and forget about being “vibrant”, “thrusting” and generally “hip and trendy” in a “quarter”. There is enough of that with Onion Square and the silly inverted naming of The Mall Trinity etc.Your sources of inspiration are pretty awful for the most part – metallic and concrete.

• When I say I support the City Square Project I support it only if Union Terrace Gardens are NOT raised to street level!

• Possible slogan for the campaign: ‘Aberdeen’s Grey Enough!’

• I sent in a response previously but scored it the wrong way round i.e put 5s instead of 1s!!Previous comments still apply!!

• All i say is…. Its about time!!!!!! Come on people.. We NEED this to happen… Its a long time comming.Yes there has been so many idea that never saw the light of day and some that never happened..What a waste of time and money.Union Gardens is past its sellby date.Yes the greens and flowers still look pretty when in bloom.. but u cant really see them properly from the streets and there is no insentive to really go down into the gardens to look at the hard work that good gardeners have put into the current green areas also its full of intimidating people from homless and alcoholics (no offence to either party) If this project go’s ahead it wont be such a dark hole in the ground but a bright open place where all the beauty can be seen from streets and within.Also it will bring the city into the 21st century with design and architecture insted of living in the old days … its 2010 not 1910 let us modernise our city and bloom like the flower we are meant to be.

• I would like it if Pecocks idea went through as I dance at Citymoves Dance Space and where it is situated is not really sufficient to the activities we participate in. Also the changing rooms and toilets are very small.

Many responses had neither yes or no attached – was the default Yes? Suspect it was.
Do the following 25 look as if they are in support of Sir Ian Wood’s proposal?
1. aberdeen does not need this there are more important issues
2. flowers and nature not buildings
3. the gardens do need renovated however the proposal is way over the top
4. would like to see an alternative proposal
5. peacocks centre
6. don’t think that the area needs to be raised but would like ti see more things happening
7. we need grass and plans no concrete save our gardens
8. keep the gardens green
9. would like the gardens to remain green
10. wish peacocks arts go ahead
11. would prefer the peacock option
12. think that development is needed but not convinced by the current plans
13. please do not close market street
14. flowers and nature not buildings
15. aberdeen does not need this there are more important issues
16. please we do not need need another while elephant concrete jungle
17. None of the aforementioned. Leave the gardens as they are and promote outdoor concerts, caleigh bands, dancing in the open air, picnic area etc
18. You should be preserving aberdeens heritage not destroying what we have and cover up with suppossed new business. All centres built have never been fully occupied. Enhance what we have colabrate our history.
19. This city cannot afford to spend money on important things such as leasure, homes and all the other things closed down. WHY? Waste money on spoiling our fore father heritage.
20. No destruction of gardens
21. Aberdeen council is systematically incapeable of successfully implementing this project. Just look at the pavements, look at union Street, look at the beggars, look at the seagulls, would Edinburgh conceret over prices street gardens?
22. The proposed plan wouldbe very small compared with other cities mentioned. It would make Aberdeen look like any other city. The exciting gardens are different. They are uniqely Aberdonian. Keep them.
23. I like Peacocks design and would otherwise leave it as it is
24. Idea of open space is good but it seems to be too big for such a small town. Think will be mostly empty. What’s the point?
25. The existing gardens and trees are an important element in the evolution of Aberdeen city centre. Views over the valley are outstanding. Last vestiges of medaeval topography must remain.

Then there’s the Chicago element for a YES

1. I have visited Chicago on a couple of occasions and the Millenium Park there should be used as a basis of what is created as it is such a great use of space and can be enjoyed by all ages and cultures. The features they have with the sculptures and water features make it a fantastic public space.

2. We feel that cycling amenities would not enhance the square and would endanger public safety and lead to abuse of the open space.The area should be for benefit to all Aberdeen residents and visitors as it stands the gardens are little used compared to the Millennium Gardens in Chicago, which we visited recently. It had free access and was well use by the residents of Chicago. And as a visitor found it complemented the city and its enterprise.

3. Something like millenium park in Chicago would be great – especially the concert area there. The focus should be on licensed cafes not bars/pubs

4. While I am for the regeneration of Aberdeen it must be done in a sympathetic way. These plans draw inspiration from Chicago, I dont think there is a better city to draw the inspiration from but this cant be a half hearted effort and needs the full commitment of Aberdeen City Council to follow up and run the area properly. By that I mean proper security/policing in the same style as the parks in Chicago, you know they are there but they are only seen when needed. It has to be kept clean, tidy, maintained properly and further funding will have to be in place to ensure the follow up is as good as the actual scheme itself. I trust the designers, I trust Ian Wood’s idea and drive, I trust the intentions behind this are correct but I do not trust Aberdeen City Council not to royally screw the whole thing up within 5 years of completion. I do not want thins turning into an eyesore in 15 years time due to the upkeep not being performed properly nor do I want thins to turn into some sort of fancy retail park with high rents paid to the council so they can use that for upkeep. This park has to be a business free zone that is easy to use, feels safe and is for the general public, in …

5. The artists impression are not very inviting. Something along the lines of the examples given in Chicago would be good, or Central Park in New York – a green centre, easy and pleasant to use , that people will naturally gravitate to. We do not want a concrete space and barren empty square.

6. The city square should be at a human scale, where people can have respite from the business of the shopping and street areas. It should also be of a style that works with the Aberdeen weather and not modelled after projects built for climates that have sunny warm climates. Aberdeen doesn’t come close to having a similar climate to the examples depicted. Chicago was the coldest climate of the examples but its summers are hot, Aberdeen has a Northern European climate and examples from our northern neighbours would be more appropriate.

7. I am an architect and urban plannner specialist from Warsaw who moved to Aberdeen few months ago. I strongly support this type of development of Aberdeen City Centre – to connect cultural institutions like Royal Majesty Theatre and Art Gallery with more commercial zone of Union Street. At the present those two valuable zones seem to me as disconnected by a “valley of shadows” – beautifull but not used by public green area of Union Gardens. I believe Aberdeen City Centre demands certain changes and should be developed in contemporary way, using modern architectural solutions, in accordance with this type of public consultation. However due to the north climate the open space solution will not work as at the inspirations shown from Chicago or Melbourne. I guess for 3/4 of the year people will still gather rather in the closed water-proof space than in the green open gardens and therefore they are not using the Square Gardens space at the present! I would suggest some kind of a shelved and open-space tent-like light structure to create a place for open public performances, concerts etc. The green area should be somehow preserved as it might be an important feature for Aberdeen citizens. To preserve some of the most valuable trees in the area you could 1. move them to some other places; 2. built-in the new commercial structure, leaving some kind of open atriums with the trees in the new-built. In Warsaw we have such an example of a nice public space created by a private, commercial developer, which is called Zlote Tarasy. It connects a huge retail center with Main Train …

8. I think it’s important to remember that we live in Aberdeen – not Chicago or Houston. Therefore while big open spaces work there the climate in Aberdeen means that this will not always be appropraite; there are very few days of the year when you can comfortably sit outside.

Peacock Printmaker’s website is:
Union Terrace Gardens can be seen at Wikipedia:


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