A Parcel of Rogues – Aberdeen City Council Chamber and the Lure of Rich Mens’ Gold

So Aberdeen City Councillors at a special meeting of the full council voted to place politics before commonsense over the proposed obliteration of Union Terrace Gardens. This nightmare of a design could only have been chosen by people of very poor taste. If there was any design more likely to stick out like a sore thumb which will turn the city centre into a depressing series of concrete walkways – this is it.

The press release from ACC says the Web will ‘transform the Victorian Gardens’ but it will not transform them it will eradicate them. Shame someone entrusted to communicate with the public is so casual with words.

There is still an opportunity to stop this hugely costly madness: Councillor McCaig said: “It is absolutely clear that our decision today to put in place the arrangements to progress the scheme depends entirely on the outcome of the referendum on the City Garden Project. If there is a ‘no’ vote, it will not happen.

Most councillors have been easily swayed by powerful influences (excluding Aberdeen voters) and the vote today confirms its determination to push ahead unless the public referendum returns a ‘no’ vote.

Would you trust this council to manage the transfer of land (Union Terrace Gardens) which is council-owned – that is owned by the people of the city – to allow it come under a part-privately developed scheme? ‘the City Council is prepared to make council-owned land available for the scheme.’

The statement says how there will be ‘no need for direct revenue support from the City Council.’ So if something goes wrong and the anticipated cash through TIF fails to materialise then the council will do what exactly? Nothing? I suppose – the council has done just that for decades in Union Terrace Gardens.

The reliance on the untested TIF scheme makes the funding of this scheme more IF than TIF.

See: Skint Aberdeen Council and TIF https://lenathehyena.wordpress.com/2010/09/24/319/

They say ‘the minimum space possible is used for commercial or semi-commercial purposes.’ This is meaningless so couched is it in qualification.

This council has little interest in being careful with public funds. It will carry on spending in the hope of public agreement – £300,000 of public money. What’s that for a maybe cause? Easy come, easy go to the council.

I did notice a reference to ‘provide no direct funding towards design, planning or construction costs for the CGP, other than that generated through TIF, already committed to the referendum, and to cover external fees.’   That phrase, ‘no direct funding’ is a little loose, isn’t it?

There will be the safety net of ACC officers overseeing all these arrangements. Do you have faith in them given how the city has been run over the years? And this is the council which complains about how run down Aberdeen is – what have successive councils and permanent council officers been doing to earn their crusts while this decline has been happening?  If they are not responsible for the decline then who is?  And do you think they know what they are doing now?

I note there still hasn’t been confirmation of the promised £70 million. Assume it’s still there in the post office but let’s face it, £70 million is only the start. The price is going to go up and up. Along with the headline figure of 6,500 jobs – couched in ‘up to’ or ‘as many as’ so a few dozen then – that won’t hit the headlines.  Who have you heard challenging these ridiculous figures? Press? Councillors? Council officers?  Do you get the impression this is what some of them want to hear?

And do you know what this means? ‘that in approving the above recommendations, the City Council is nonetheless taking no view of any proposed development in its capacity as the planning authority.’

But pith and power, till my last hour,
I’ll mak this declaration;
We’re bought and sold for rich mens’ gold-
Such a parcel of rogues in a nation!

Thanks to Burns



One Comment to “A Parcel of Rogues – Aberdeen City Council Chamber and the Lure of Rich Mens’ Gold”

  1. The wording of the press release from Aberdeen City Council is poor and it makes Callum McCaig look like he has scant knowledge of what is going on in the council he is supposed to be leading. If he was up to speed on the forthcoming referendum he would be aware that it is not a YES/NO vote. The voters of Aberdeen are being presented with the option of voting to “Retain Union Terrace Gardens” or “The City Garden Project Design”, not yes or no. As a member of – let alone leader of – Aberdeen City Council he should know this and he should ensure that any material punted out to the press via official council channels has been checked and, where this referendum is concerned ideally vetted by “independent Counting Officer Crawford Langley”.

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