Union Terrace Gardens proposals receive public backing

Proposals to revitalise Union Terrace Gardens (UTG) in Aberdeen have received strong support from the public.

An engagement exercise on the key City Centre Masterplan (CCMP) project took place earlier this month and included a survey, which drew 1,417 responses.

The public was asked to rate proposals based on six priorities identified through the Masterplan process, specifically: preserving the green space; accessibility; create events space; improve facilities; safety; and heritage features.

A summary of the findings [attached] showed that views were most positive in relation to accessibility (95% positive ratings), improving facilities (94%), and safety (89%).

Views were also positive in relation to heritage features (81% positive ratings), preserving the green space (78%) and creating events space (70%).

A full report, providing a detailed analysis of written comments from respondents, is expected to be completed by the New Year.

Council leader Councillor Jenny Laing said: “I'm delighted that the public has responded so strongly to what is envisaged for Union Terrace Gardens.

"In moving this Masterplan project forward we listened to the public, and in drawing up the detailed designs that process will continue.

"I await with interest the full report when we'll get a feel from the people about how we might further enhance the city’s green heart.”

Funding for the project, costed at £20 million, has been set aside in the existing Masterplan budget.

The UTG proposals were drawn up by LDA Design and aim to conserve the Victorian park’s heritage while enhancing access, amenity and activity.

Features include:

• New accessible walkway route into the gardens from Union Street and lift access into the lower level of the gardens through a new entrance building on Union Street

• Lift access from Union Terrace into the upper level of the gardens through a new entrance building on Union Terrace at the existing Burns Monument

• New disabled parking spaces on Union Terrace directly adjacent to the new accessible walkway routes into the gardens

• Retaining the central lawn space as a flexible space for large scale gathering and events, and a new entrance plaza opposite His Majesty’s Theatre to accommodate smaller scale events

• Reinstating the ‘grand staircase’ as a central part of the new accessible route into the gardens from Rosemount Viaduct

• Retaining maximum number of existing trees as possible

Deputy Council leader Councillor Marie Boulton, who chairs the cross-party City Centre Regeneration Board, said: “The summary provides a huge vote of confidence in LDA’s work.

“The people have made clear what that they expect for both Union Terrace Gardens and from the City Council.

“We have set aside money for this Masterplan project and the job now is to study the feedback and ensure we get the best result for all our citizens.”

Kirstin Taylor, Project Director at LDA Design, said: “We’ve had a hugely positive response to the proposals and to the consultation. 

“People’s comments will inform the development of the detailed design.”

An independent analyst – employed by the Council – is carrying out the response assessment.

Detailed designs will go before councillors in Spring 2017. If approved, delivery work would start next year with a target completion date of autumn 2019.

For a summary of the survey responses, please view the downloads below;